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What Do We Do

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Rangers face an enormous task to protect our planet, and yet the ranger workforce is under-prepared, under-resourced and under-valued. URSA recognises the scale of the challenge facing our rangers globally, and understands that the ranger workforce requires the strength of a coordinated support base. URSA advocates for rangers, develops resources and tools for the ranger workforce, drives equality and equity in the ranger workforce, improves ranger working conditions and welfare, while at the same time building trusting relationships with communities and ensuring the responsible conduct of rangers.

Achieving this ambitious Vision needs a strategic approach. URSA’s Action Plan outlines five themes, allowing rangers to perform their roles effectively and responsibly.

“We are monitoring the health and

behaviour of wild animals;

someone should do the same for us.”

Advocacy and Representation

By 2025, the ranger profession is increasingly and formally recognized internationally and by governments, with rangers effectively represented and connected.

The International Ranger Federation and its network of regional and national ranger associations work tirelessly to represent their ranger members. But many rangers remain unrepresented nationally and internationally and few countries recognize the ranger sector. Many rangers struggle to get their voices heard and to secure the support they need. URSA aims to promote and support rangers throughout the world and create a wider and stronger global ranger network, under the leadership of the IRF.

Only 38.1% of rangers have
access to a worker’s association
that represents them

Capacity

By 2025, a common framework for improving and sustaining ranger capacity is in place and
increasingly adopted and implemented.

Ranger work is varied, often requiring multiple skills. Rangers need to be

communicators, educators, first responders, monitors and law-enforcers.

34.4% say their training did not adequately prepare them to meet their job responsibilities

43% believe their most basic equipment is insufficient for the job

Employment and Welfare

By 2025, global minimum standards for ranger employment and welfare are developed, and increasingly adopted nationally to enhance ranger working conditions and well-being.

A large proportion of rangers face threats to their physical and mental health and safety, limiting their ability and motivation. Many rangers do their jobs without proper pay, contracts or insurance. They spend weeks away from home, often with inadequate accommodation and in harsh and dangerous environments. What many of them have achieved in such conditions is remarkable.

Rangers are entitled to have their safety, health, well-being, and labour and human rights safeguarded. The action plan sets out a framework for establishing global minimum standards of working and employment conditions for all rangers.

Despite challenging and often dangerous working conditions, most rangers continue to show exceptional courage, dedication and perseverance in their work.

  • Rangers reported working 72 hours per week on average
  • Over 1,000 rangers have died in the line of duty in the last decade, and yet only 37.7% have insurance for on-the-job fatality
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An estimated 3-11% of rangers are female while only
26% of rangers come from nearby communities

Equality and Equity in the Ranger sector

By 2025, systems and structures have been adopted by IRF, its ranger associations and
by URSA members that enable equal opportunities, fair treatment and equitable
working environments for rangers.

We need to attract more rangers to a profession where they see a future for themselves. We need a more representative ranger workforce where women, and indigenous people and local communities have equal career opportunities, empowering those with a real interest in caring for their own lands and waters.

All rangers, regardless of ethnic or social origin, race, gender identity, ability, sexual orientation or beliefs, deserve equal opportunities and fair working conditions in an environment where their human and labour rights are safeguarded. URSA will develop support systems and mechanisms that promote equal employment opportunities by recognizing and promoting the importance of underrepresented groups in the ranger workforce.

Local Indigenous rangers can bring a deep understanding of a protected area,

its wildlife and ecosystems, and are often uniquely invested in their protection.

Equality and Equity in the Ranger sector

By 2025, rangers in all IRF Regions are operating within a framework of working practices, ethics and conduct that value and build trust with communities and the public,
and promote responsibility and accountability.

Rangers are frequently the first point of contact between protected area authorities and local communities. Trust is a critical element.

The Chitwan Declaration states that ‘a crit¬ical role of a Ranger is to build trust with, and to protect the well-being and legal rights of those who depend on natural and cultural resources within protected and conserved areas.’ Rangers work in tough environments and have to deal with complex ecological and social problems. Rangers need to treat people fairly, to strictly observe the law, to protect the rights of others and to be accountable for their actions. Responsible behaviour requires clear guidance, leadership and oversight as well as appropriate mechanisms for addressing possible instances of misconduct.

The action plan specifies the development of ranger codes of conduct, safeguarding mechanisms and means for reporting and responding to wrongdoing.

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  • 21.5% of rangers believe that communities don’t trust them
  • 31% of rangers faced on-the-job verbal abuse from local communities in the trust last 12 months, while 8% of rangers faced physical abuse
  • 82.2% of rangers believe that part of their success depends on the community providing information
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