Today is World Ranger Day and we hope you will join us in celebrating the brave rangers around the world who risk their lives every day to protect the planet’s endangered plants and animals. Sadly, today is also a day to commemorate the many rangers that have given their lives for conservation. Rangers in Virunga have paid a heavy price over the years. Yet they still put on their boots each day and head out to protect the park — never knowing if they will return. Today, as conflict and instability grips the region, the risk to Virunga’s rangers couldn’t be greater. The images below will give you a glimpse into their daily lives as they work tirelessly to protect Africa’s oldest national park. Please make a special donation today to support and honor them!
Rangers leaving their families to go out on patrol
Rangers taking a mountain gorilla census after the 2008 war
Virunga’s older rangers have seen the park through many wars, yet have never given up
A baby lowland gorilla rescued from animal traffickers during a sting operation
Rangers from Virunga’s canine unit ford a river in search of elephant poachers
Rangers close in on poachers in Virunga’s savanna
With one poacher in custody, rangers stay low to avoid taking fire from those who managed to escape
Ranger caregiver with affectionate baby gorilla that was seized from animal traffickers
A little friendly fitness competition among rangers near Lake Edward
Chief Warden, Emmanuel de Merode, preparing to evacuate a wounded ranger by air
Ranger paying his last respects to a friend and colleague
Distraught ranger widow leading her husband’s funeral procession
One of the many reasons why Virunga’s rangers refuse to let the park be plundered
Photos: All images courtesy of Brent Stirton/Getty Images, except images 4, 9, and 11 (top to bottom), which were taken by LuAnne Cadd.