Fund for Fallen Heroes
We are partnering with the Uganda Wildlife Authority to create the Fund for Fallen Heroes.
Every year, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) loses a dozen or more rangers working in ten national parks across tens of thousands of acres of protected land. These rangers work in a very diverse mix of terrain and with a variety of dangers. UWA rangers patrol the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in western Uganda, hiking through the rainforest bordering the DR Congo to protect more than one third of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. In the north, there are hundreds of rangers employed to protect the animals of stunning Kidepo Valley National Park, unfortunately a hotspot for elephant and pangolin poaching and the source of many trafficked animals. These rangers face extreme danger out on the open plains and regularly clash with armed poaching groups. Almost the ranger injuries and deaths in Kidepo last year were from bullets.
Sadly, with more than 45 families living in abject poverty as a result of losing their main breadwinner, the UWA cannot support those left behind.
We aim to fund educational scholarships for the children of every ranger killed in Uganda. In a nation where education is not free and families with two working parents struggle to pay the school tuition fees for one child, we want to alleviate this pressure and allow the children the chance at a full education and a brighter future.
Losing a parent to wildlife traffickers should not result in a total loss of future for a child. We aim to end this cycle of violence and hopelessness.
This is a stark reminder of the danger wildlife workers face every day. Patrolling areas of the earth where poachers stalk animals to sell their parts on the black market or for bush meat, is a dangerous job.
Uganda Wildlife Authority employs some of the best respected conservationists in Africa and they deserve our support. Just last year, a UWA ranger was awarded the prestigious Tusk Award, presented by HRH Prince William. He is credited with increasing the lion population in Murchison Falls National Park from 200 to 1600. You can read more about that here: Wildlife Ranger Wins Award
UWA currently employs approximately 1,500 rangers to cover about 71,000 square kilometres of protected area.
World Ranger Day, which is marked on July 31, is held in remembrance of rangers who died in the line of duty.
According to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), rangers in Uganda, DR Congo and Rwanda have been directly responsible for an increase in the number of mountain gorillas, risking their lives to ensure the survival of this critically endangered species.
The vast majority of deaths of rangers in Uganda last year were as a result of bullet wounds received in battles with poachers and wildlife traffickers.