World Ranger Day is observed annually on 31 July and commemorates rangers killed or injured in the line of duty. It celebrates the work rangers do to protect the world’s natural and cultural treasures. Rangers stand up to poachers almost daily as they battle to end the decimation of wildlife species, ranging from the poaching of rhino horn and abalone, to the illegal removal of plants such as cycads and Proteas.As part of World Rangers Day, South African National Parks (SANparks) Cape Region management and staff, with various stakeholders such as the South African Navy, Law Enforcement and CapeNature, hosted a World Ranger Day event at Mouille Point, Sea Point, on Wednesday 31 July.Whilst addressing the rangers and esteemed guests at the event, SANparks managing executive of parks, Property Mokoena, said: “Over the past few years, the Cape region has borne the brunt of poaching, muggings and a number of unfortunate incidents that have resulted in deaths, placing a greater burden on the field rangers working here.”He continued, saying it is their integrity and high moral ground that benefits citizens. “The work that you do today in preserving and conserving our country’s natural assets will not only ensure social benefits for the country but also economic assistance and opportunities for many years to come.” He said the organisation aims to address the challenges faced in the Cape region by appointing 120 tourism monitors who will be deployed into different functional areas, of which safety is one of the priorities. The programme is funded by the national Department of Tourism, and the monitors will be based in all Cape region parks, including Table Mountain National Park. “This programme is a great opportunity. We are proud to have them on board and foresee great results coming from this team in assisting us in making our national parks a safe and enjoyable destination for visitors,” he added. He expressed the need to collaborate on addressing these issues, adding: “Failure to address these challenges as a united front will undoubtedly affect the livelihoods of thousands of people depending on national parks for all sorts of benefits. “It is against this background that we think the solutions we need must be based on partnerships with stakeholders such as the police, navy, Law Enforcement, CapeNature, neighbourhood watch groups, private sector security companies and community outreach organisations such as Take Back our Mountain, and many more other significant role players,” he said. The first World Ranger Day was observed in 2007 and is the brainchild of the International Rangers Federation (IRF). World Ranger Day is promoted by the 63 member associations of the IRF; by the IRF partner; the Thin Green Line Foundation, and by individuals who support the work of rangers and the IRF.V For more information visit www.sanparks.org.