31 July, Chelela: The Department of Forests and Park Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests celebrated the third World Rangers Day after Bhutan’s membership to the international Rangers Federation (IRF) in 2017. The day is celebrated by the IRF’s member association, the Thin Green Line Foundation, and by organizations and individuals who support and acknowledge the work of rangers worldwide.
The day observed the theme “Celebrating our Rangers”. The rangers in Bhutan serves as the frontline in protecting the natural heritage for future generations. They work tirelessly to protect some of the most endangered species like tigers, elephants and snow leopards which are also the animals widely targeted by poachers for illegal wildlife trade.
According to Thin Green Line Foundation, worldwide about 1000 rangers were killed in line of duty in the last 10 years. This staggering sacrifice underlines just how dangerous and critical a rangers work and environment is. Therefore the day honors and pays respect to those rangers who have lost their lives or those who were injured while performing the duty and their bereaved families.
The day highlighted the recognition of Ranger Rinchen from Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary, who lost his right eye while chasing away elephants from the farmer’s field. The day also introduced rank insignia system for forestry officers followed by launching of 24 various forestry publications, screening of drone footages and poster presentation. Additionally, WWF Bhutan further marked the day by supporting the rangers with 80 smart phones for SMART patrolling.
The day further inaugurated the Chelela-Sagala Trail with facilities such as campsites, viewpoints and gazebos managed by the Jigme Khesar Strict Nature Reserve. The occasion ended with a very peaceful gesture by hoisting of prayer flags in memory of the fallen rangers.
The Hon’ble Secretary highlighted rangers as the main custodians of one of our GNH pillars: protecting and preserving the environment. He thanked them for serving tirelessly and encouraged them to keep up with their hard work and dedication in service of Tsa Wa sum.
The day was also attended by the member of parliament, Dasho Dzongda of Paro, Commander, Royal Bhutan Army Damthang, Dasho Dzongrab of Haa, representatives from conservation partners and donor agencies among others.
Reported by Tashi Yangzom with photos by Choidup Zangpo, ICTD
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