Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has paid tribute to the work of Department of Conservation rangers as part of events to mark World Ranger Day today.
“DOC has more than a thousand rangers working across the country from the sub-tropical Raoul Island to the subantarctic islands. They’re out there year round, in all conditions, working hard to safeguard our unique wildlife and special places on behalf of all New Zealanders,” Ms Barry says.
“Rangers do vital work in DOC’s key programmes of Battle for our Birds and War on Weeds and play a vital role in Predator Free 2050 – the Government’s ambitious goal to rid New Zealand of possums, rats and stoats”
“There are now 9 new Predator Free Rangers across the regions who’ll work with local communities and volunteer groups to scale up predator control efforts. Backed by a $300,000 fund they will help get community-based initiatives started, provide advice to existing groups and be the point of contact to co-ordinate DOC rangers in every district to set up trap libraries and provide whatever help is needed.”
DOC rangers look after 13 national parks and many other conservation areas, 44 marine reserves, more than 14,000 km of tracks and over 300 campsites, 500 picnic areas and 900 huts.
“They do it all - rearing chicks, monitoring marine reserves, fighting wildfires, clearing tracks, trapping predators, spraying weeds, servicing huts, connecting kids with nature – it’s all in a day’s work for DOC rangers,” Ms Barry says.
“Our dedicated rangers are committed to making a difference for our natural environment. As the front-line of DOC they are important ambassadors and New Zealanders as well as overseas visitors consistently rate highly their contact with rangers.”
World Ranger Day is observed annually on the 31st of July to celebrate the work rangers do to protect the world’s natural and cultural treasures, as well as commemorate rangers killed or injured in the line of duty.