A group of 120 park rangers have completed an intense two-months training aimed at equipping them with skills and knowledge to provide quality security to Rwanda’s national parks and natural resources.
Their graduation on July 31 was officiated by the Minister of Internal Security, Sheikh Musa Fasil Harerimana at the Police Training School in Gishari, Rwamagana District – where they were trained.
The ceremony was attended by the CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Francis Gatare, the inspector general of Police Emmanuel K. Gasana, and several other dignitaries
The training of park rangers was conducted in partnership between Rwanda National Police (RNP) and RDB, as a collaborative effort to advance tourism and sustainable development through strengthening biodiversity conservation.
At the function, Minister Harerimana congratulated the rangers and urged them to use their newly acquired skills to sternly protect Rwanda’s wildlife against poachers and other unlawful activities that damage the environment.
“The training you have received will enrich your skills and readiness to ensure the security of national parks against poachers and other criminals that might use these places as hideouts,” he said.
“Although environment crimes are often unknown, they impose a security and safety threat to development. Today’s graduation of park rangers is yet another milestone in the prevention, reduction and detection of pertinent issues that affect the environment.”
The CEO of RDB, Francis Gatare, noted that the training is one of the solutions to an increase in illegal activities in national parks, as well as a limited number of professional park rangers to protect wild animals.
“The destruction of wild animals and insecurity of tourists has a negative impact on the tourism sector – therefore – our mandate is to conserve the rich biodiversity of protected areas and develop sustainable tourism, in collaboration with RNP and other stakeholders,” he said.
“RDB and RNP are working on a comprehensive strategy to address wildlife related concerns through joint law enforcement operations. Training of park rangers is one of those crucial areas that will be very fruitful in sustaining the beauty of our environment.”
The Police Spokesperson, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Celestin Twahirwa, noted that for the last fifteen years of community-based policing, RNP has emphasized, among other things, environment protection to complement the government’s tourism development.
“Undoubtedly, the issues of a modern park ranger are diverse and require dedicated, professional and highly disciplined personnel to meet the demands of a rapidly growing tourism industry,” he said.
“The role of RNP in environment protection comprises not only law enforcement but also active participation through awareness campaigns and practical interpretation of environment laws to citizens.”
On top of collaborating with other institutions like RDB and REMA to enhance protection of biodiversity, police has conducted several initiatives like; establish of an Environment Protection Unit that follows up on cases involving environment crimes.
The two-months training of park rangers involved a number of disciplines and specializations including; paramilitary and field ranger techniques that entailed emphasized physical fitness drills, fire arm handling, navigation, wilderness communication, and ranger professional ethics.