On July 31st, Thailand’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) pledged better capacity building and welfare programs for its park rangers at an event marking World Ranger Day in Thailand’s Eastern Forest Complex. The minister recognized that rangers are the front-line of defense and are often poorly equipped and under-trained. Rangers face growing threats from well-armed poachers seeking to profit from endangered animals and timber. In Thailand over the last four years, more than 40 rangers have lost their lives, 49 have been injured, and 23 left in critical condition.

In recent weeks there has been increased high-level recognition of the grave threat of wildlife crime, as President Obama signed an executive order to combat wildlife crime and increased U.S. government support to strengthen wildlife law enforcement capacity globally. FREELAND, the implementing partner of the USAID-funded Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking Program (ARREST), presented awards to wounded and fallen rangers during the event ceremony. ARREST, the U.S. Government’s largest counter wildlife trafficking program, has been providing training and equipment to many rangers to support their brave efforts to fight wildlife crime throughout Southeast Asia.

Related Website: http://freeland.org

Source: USAID/RDMA Regional Environment Office Weekly Update