Park Rangers recognised on World Ranger Day

Wednesday 31 July, 2019

The critical behind-the-scenes work of Park Rangers to protect some of Australia’s most special environmental and cultural places is being recognised on World Ranger Day (31 July).

Parks Victoria’s Park Rangers and Field Service Officers work across 3,000 parks and reserves – deserts, forests, mountains, wetlands and marine areas – which protect 93 per cent of the state’s native flora species, 86 per cent of native fauna species, and thousands of Aboriginal and post-European cultural and heritage sites.

They also care for 13 national marine parks and 11 marine sanctuaries, areas of ocean that support more than 12,000 species of plants and animals – 90 per cent of which are found nowhere else in the world.

Protecting these special places is a constantly evolving challenge amid the varying threats of a changing climate, severe bushfires and floods, pollution, human impacts, destructive pest animals and weeds.

Park Rangers are at the frontline, controlling populations of feral animals including foxes, goat, pigs, horses, deer and rabbits across vast tracts of land. These animals can seriously impact the environment, stripping, trampling and destroying vegetation and waterways, killing native animals and spreading diseases. This work continues in the ocean, where invasive species such as sea stars and urchin are removed from Victoria’s healthy marine sanctuaries. Rangers also treat weeds that can otherwise monopolise space, nutrients and sunlight, changing the natural diversity and balance of ecological communities.

The job of a Park Ranger extends beyond park boundaries where they help to keep Victorian communities safe. Last year, Rangers were a critical component of the 850 Parks Victoria staff who assisted in emergencies, including in response to 1,562 bushfires. Park Rangers also work closely with Emergency Services in the search and rescue of lost and injured park visitors.

With more than 100 million visits to Victoria’s parks and reserves each year, Rangers are a key source of information and assistance for park visitors. For some of the youngest, this includes through the delivery of the Junior Rangers program, which last year was delivered to more than 10,000 participants at 50 parks.

Internationally, World Ranger Day commemorates Rangers killed or injured in the line of duty and celebrates their work to protect the planet’s natural treasures and cultural heritage. The day is promoted through the International Ranger Federation and The Thin Green Line Foundation.

Quotes attributed to Matthew Jackson, Chief Executive Officer–Parks Victoria:

“Today is a chance to recognise the tireless and often unseen work of Park Rangers to care for our amazing places, plants and animals.”

“Parks Victoria’s work extends across 4.1 million hectares of national, state, regional and metropolitan parks and reserves which we all get to enjoy.”

“At a global level, World Ranger Day is an important time to remember Rangers who have been killed or injured in the line of duty.”

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