World Ranger Day: Celebrating the Laikipia Lion Rangers and Tusk’s Wildlife Ranger Challenge
On World Ranger Day, celebrated every year on 31 July, we shine a light on the Laikipia Lion Rangers, who work to protect large carnivores and the livelihoods of local pastoral people on top of their normal security duties. These dedicated individuals are invaluable in achieving landscape-scale coexistence between lions, other large carnivores and people.
Lion Rangers engaging local school children
We currently partner with ten conservancies and ranches across Laikipia to train and support their rangers to monitor and protect lions and other large carnivores, prevent attacks on livestock and work with communities to stop the use of poisonous pesticides in retaliatory killings. Our partner conservancies and ranches include; Borana Conservancy, Mpala, Mugie Conservancy, Ol Maisor Ranch, Sosian Ranch, Suyian Ranch, El Karama Conservancy, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Tumaren Ranch (Karisia Walking Safaris) and Loisaba Conservancy. Together they cover approximately 200,000Ha of Kenya's third largest lion population.
Laikipia’s Lion Rangers taking part in the Wildlife Ranger Challenge
An annual activity that highlights the invaluable role of Rangers is the Wildlife Ranger Challenge organised by Tusk - with the ultimate goal of raising funds to support these men and women on the front line of Africa’s protected areas. Now in its third year, the Wildlife Ranger Challenge is a 21km half marathon and the Laikipia Lion Rangers will once again participate. The run-up includes a series of mental and physical challenges consisting of a push-up and sit-up challenge and a quiz designed to prepare the rangers for the half marathon.
Laikipia Lion Rangers taking part in the Wildlife Ranger Challenge physical challenges
This year, 24 of the Lion Rangers from Borana Conservancy, Mpala, Mugie Conservancy, Ol Maisor Ranch, Tumaren Ranch (Karisia Walking Safaris) and Loisaba Conservancy will join over 100 ranger teams from across the African continent in the Wildlife Ranger Challenge.
In 2020, Loisaba Conservancy Lion Rangers won the inaugural Wildlife Ranger Challenge while in 2021, Ol Maisor Ranch Lion Rangers came in 12th overall. This year, all teams are ecstatic and motivated to do their best in the mental and physical challenges ahead. "The race was very tough and tiring.... we tried our level best and we enjoyed the race even though one of us was injured by thorn but we made it. We thank our management for their support for being with us at the ground from the start to the end and we thank Lion Landscape as well,” stated Nicholas (Laikipia Lion Ranger from Ol Maisor Ranch). What Nicholas does not mention is that the thorn injury was sustained whilst being chased by an elephant during the race - all in a day's work for a wildlife Ranger!
We need your help!
As we celebrate these men and women and their valuable role in conservation, we need your help - Due to high demand, we are raising funds to expand the number of Lion Rangers trained and supported in Laikipia to include more conservancies. This will allow us to collectively support even more livestock owners to successfully coexist with lions and other large carnivores across the Laikipia landscape. You can help us to achieve this valuable goal:
Donate: Make a difference and support Laikipia Lion Rangers by donating through our fundraising page. Every donation will be matched by the Scheinberg Relief Fund, doubling the impact of your contribution and supporting rangers throughout Africa.
Run with Laikipia Lion Rangers: Join the race and run alongside the Laikipia Lion Rangers by registering on https://wildliferangerchallenge.org for a 5, 10, or 21km run or walk. You can also take the ranger quiz and the exercise-based challenges. Encourage your friends and family to support you in your run and raise valuable funds to make each mile even more meaningful. You can start an individual fundraising campaign to support Laikipia Lion Rangers.
Laikipia Lion Rangers taking part in the Wildlife Ranger Challenge race
Share your Experience: Save the following dates in your calendar and share an image or video with us on Social Media of you doing the challenges, getting ready, running or finishing the race. See how many push-ups and sit-ups you can do in under two minutes, then test your knowledge with our ranger quiz at WildlifeRangerChallenge.org.
30 August: Push-Up Challenge Week
5 September: Sit-Up and Canine Challenge Week
12 September: Quiz Week
17 September: Race Day
Shop to Support: Show your support by wearing one of our official Lion Ranger t-shirts - the same design as the Laikipia Lion Rangers will be wearing for the Wildlife Ranger Challenge. See here merchandise options.
Expand our Reach: Join the Challenge by following our social media pages; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, and sharing the event. Follow #ForWildlifeRangers to hear stories from the front line throughout the campaign. Follow #TrainLikeARanger from August to September to see if you’ve got what it takes to take to the field.
However you wish to participate, we are grateful for your support of the men and women who are so valuable in helping us achieve our goals and in the conservation of our valuable landscapes.
Images by Anthony Ochieng/TonyWild in collaboration with the Wildlife Ranger Challenge and supported by Natural State, the Game Rangers Association of Africa and the Scheinberg Relief Fund to raise the profile of Africa's rangers and showcase their important and diverse role in conservation.
Stay in touch
You can visit our website and keep up to date on our work and research in Africa by subscribing to our general newsletter. Join us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn for recent photos and stories from the field.