From bush to ocean, World Ranger Day salutes the defenders of the wild

On the 31st of July each year, we celebrate World Ranger Day, honouring the brave people who have dedicated, and continue to dedicate, their lives to protecting and conserving our natural heritage. Rangers work tirelessly in some of the most remote and challenging environments, safeguarding endangered species, preserving delicate ecosystems, and combating illegal activities that threaten our planet’s biodiversity.

In South Africa rangers stand up to poachers daily as they battle to end the destruction of wildlife species, ranging from the poaching of rhino and abalone to the illegal removal of plants such as cycads and Proteas.

On days like these, Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s Making CONTACT messaging is highlighted.  Launched nationwide last year, this five-part mini-series created by Hill’s celebrates the bravery of these amazing rangers and their K9s. “The heart-warming series not only recognises the remarkable role that these dogs play in protecting our natural heritage but also their incredible handlers who, through their commitment to working with the dogs, are making a real difference in the fight against poaching,” says Dr Guy Fyvie, Veterinary Affairs Manager at Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

He adds that there are substantial costs involved with training, feeding and looking after the health of the K9 unit dogs and Hill’s has proudly been sponsoring the units with food, equipment and healthcare for the last decade.

There are several ways we can support and appreciate the invaluable work of rangers on this special day, and beyond. Dr Fyvie provides some tips to get involved:

Educate yourself and others – Take the time to learn about the role of rangers in conservation efforts and the challenges they face daily. Share this knowledge with friends, family, and colleagues to raise awareness about the importance of their work.

Engage in responsible tourism – When visiting national parks, reserves, or natural areas, ensure you follow the guidelines set by park authorities. Respect wildlife and their habitats, avoid littering, and support eco-friendly tourism practices that contribute positively to local communities and conservation efforts.

Join community clean-ups – Participate in community clean-up events in your area. Cleaning up parks, beaches, and other outdoor areas not only benefits the environment but also helps protect wildlife from pollution.

Adopt sustainable practices – Try and embrace sustainable living habits in your daily life as much as possible. Reuse and repurpose existing items, where you can, to minimise your ecological footprint. Choosing sustainable products and supporting eco-friendly businesses also contributes to the preservation of our natural resources.

Engage on social media – Use your social media platforms to spread awareness about World Ranger Day and the efforts of rangers. Share inspiring stories, images, and information about conservation and encourage your followers to join in too.

Support anti-poaching initiatives – Sadly, poaching remains a significant threat to wildlife. Support anti-poaching organisations that work closely with rangers to combat poaching and wildlife trafficking activities.

“Hill’s Pet Nutrition is globally committed to helping to protect and conserve our planet and wildlife. In South Africa, the open grasslands, and their inhabitants, is where many of us go to keep our spirit alive and therefore needs to be conserved for generations to come,” Dr Fyvie concludes.

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