New ranger accommodation for iSimangaliso

31 Aug 2018

Field rangers and environmental monitors play a vital role in the protection of fauna and flora within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site. As our eyes, ears and boots on the ground they represent the thin green frontline against poachers and other threats to our natural resources. It can be a difficult and challenging way to live, remote from other people, walking long distances each day and occasionally at night too, in all weather conditions and constantly facing the possibility of encounters with dangerous game, or human intruders.

As part of our infrastructure development and refurbishment plans, iSimangaliso has invested over R35 million to provide a total of 18 new field ranger camps throughout the Park, from the far north at Black Rock to the south near the Futululu Forest section. These units are a great improvement upon outdated facilities that they have occupied in the past. All camps are built using the most eco-friendly solutions available such as rainwater collection tanks, LED lighting, solar electricity and solar boreholes in areas where water is scarce.

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The new field ranger units are complete and have been handed over to our conservation partner Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife for occupation by the field rangers in their service. Most units are 6-bed dwellings, with communal kitchens, water storage tanks and separate male and female ablutions. The camps have been designed to be as eco-friendly as possible.

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This year iSimangaliso employed an additional 85 environmental monitors to bring the total to 109, who work alongside seasoned Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife rangers in the Park. In additional to their usual tasks, they also assist iSimangaliso by providing security to runners participating in our Eco-Series events, such as the iSimangaliso Trail Challenge.

Says iSimangaliso Park Operations Director, Sizo Sibiya: “We value the essential role played by field rangers in our Park and are very pleased to offer these new living quarters to our conservation colleagues as an investment in our human capital. It is a hard but invaluably rewarding training ground for these men and women, some of whom will rise through the ranks to take our places as leaders of conservation agencies in the future. We hope that these facilities provide a comfortable base for them as they patrol our Park and maintain law and order.”

Media enquiries should be directed to Slindile Msweli at sli@isimangaliso.com.