By Faranak Bakhtiari

All shall pay tribute to guardians of nature

July 31, 2020 - 23:5

TEHRAN – July 31 is World Ranger Day, which celebrates the work rangers do to protect the planet's natural treasures and cultural heritage and commemorates the guardians of nature killed or injured in the line of duty.

Climate change, poaching, and armed conflict, in addition to the Covid-19 pandemic, are the issues affecting natural resources and those who protect them, particularly during this difficult time across the globe.

Humans may have not thought about environmental protection since urbanization reached a point that severely affected nature and made them think of a solution, because humans were highly depended on nature and could not survive without it.

Therefore, institutions such as the Department of Environment in Iran and others were formed in the world, but it was the beginning of human involvement, so the relevant institutions were forced to physically protect these areas and unfortunately, a large number of them lost their lives defending the environment.

The international community decided to designate July 31 as World Ranger Day to commemorate rangers killed or injured in the line of duty and to celebrate the work rangers do to protect the world's natural and cultural heritage.

In Iran, rangers have been working for about half a century in four protected areas under the management of the DOE, to protect wildlife and biological species, and during this period 140 rangers lost their lives, in the world also more than a thousand environmental defenders have been killed over the last 12 years.

To preserve the existing biodiversity over the wide geographic expanse of Iran, four types of areas have been designated for preservation and protection, including, national parks, wildlife refuges, protected areas, and natural national monuments. In 1997, the DOE held supervision over 7,563,983 hectares of such areas. By the year 2003, the size of the DOE supervised areas reached 11,791,788.225 hectares.

According to the international standard, there should be one ranger per thousand hectares, but in Iran, there is one ranger per 12,000 hectares, which means that the number of rangers in Iran is one-twelfth of the world standard, while the rangers protect 11 percent of the country's natural areas, Jamshid Mohabbat-Khani, commander of the protection unit of the DOE has stated.

To compensate for this shortage, we obtained a license to hire rangers for 10 consecutive years, through which 300 ranchers were employed each year, he said, adding, but given the size of the country, it seems that we are still far from the international standard, and public participation seems to be the best way to make up for it.

Of course, the people have always been present and did not give up any help, so that we witnessed the death of seven people in the recent wildfires, he regretted, noting, but it shows that people are interested to participate in the environmental protection, so the slogan of the environment comes true as we have 80 million environmentalists.

But we also have a number of responsibilities towards these people, one of which is to educate them, he said, adding, in this regard, we also prepared a booklet on fire control in nature and sent it to the provinces and asked them to educate people and prevent any harm.
In the law for the protection of rangers, we made a clause in support of nature conservationists, which was not approved and was removed, but we are seriously pursuing the issue to protect them legally, he highlighted.

He went on to say that we are trying to provide equipment to the rangers by the end of this year, which will include bulletproof vests, electric shocker, tear gas, backpacks, and other necessary items.


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