I am pleased to introduce you to Lando Howard. He writes a great column as Bushwacked Boy and will be a regular contributor on my Blog under Guest Writers. Look for Lando’s intelligent “hands on” perspective on animals in Africa and the challenges they – and the people who are trying to protect them – face every day.
Field Guide vs Game Ranger
By Lando Howard – Guest Writer
I’m going to clarify – Field Guide vs Game Ranger – as people often do not understand the difference when they meet me and find out that I am studying towards becoming a “Field Guide”. They don’t understand what the job entails and confuse it with the role a “Game Ranger” plays.
Colloquially in South Africa these terms are used interchangeably. They do, however, describe significantly different job descriptions.
The Field Guide: Field Guides interact mainly with guests and clients. They are primarily responsible for providing a guided experience, on foot or in vehicles, in areas such as game reserves, game farms, conservancies, and in Provincial and National Parks.
The Game Ranger: Game Rangers are primarily responsible for the physical and resource management of game reserves. They work with ecologists, game reserve managers and wildlife managers in managing and maintaining the biological populations of reserves in addition to roads, fencing, water resources, erosion control, alien plant control, burning programs, population control and bush clearing. They very often are on the front lines when it comes to anti-poaching duties.
On many reserves the field guides are utilized on an improvised basis to assist in the game ranging tasks.
The photograph above is of three Game Rangers in the Kruger National Park. Rangers are trained to remain in the bush overnight, and sometimes for days, tracking poachers. They are seldomly seen in the reserves and parks as they are trained to remain unseen. Very often while on a game drive you will drive right past these talented individuals without even knowing that they are there.
If you thought that spotting leopards in Kruger was tough … try spotting the Rangers! With the current war against rhino poachers, the Rangers are our are last line of defence. But you will be glad that your Field Guide is with you – when an unexpected flat tire is front and centre when you arrive back at your vehicle.
So Field Guide vs Game Ranger – you want them both around when you’re travelling in Africa!
The Iconic Impala
Lando With Petros – Timbavati Reserve – September 2012
Please contact me if you have any questions about Bushwacked Boy.
Lando Howard – email@example.com
On Another Day
The white rhino in this photograph was the first one I had ever seen in the wild. It was a really humbling experience.
At the time rhino poaching was not high on the priority list of the Department of Environmental Affairs. In 2008 a total of 83 rhinos were poached in South Africa. In 2012 the number had escalated to a staggering 668 for the year! We are now seven months through 2013 and the figure already stands at over 600. By year end the number will be tragic.
Photo taken in Madikwe Game Reserve