Park Protection

Safeguarding our heritage

Gonarezhou Resource Protection

Poaching is a perennial problem faced by conservation areas and is driven by a complex range of factors.  Thus, in combination with activities aimed at proactively addressing many of these drivers, Gonarezhou makes use of a well-trained and professional ranger force to safeguard the natural resources within the Park.

The Gonarezhou Ranger force is empowered through the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Act to police the National Park in an effort to prevent any illegal activities aimed at the natural resources within Gonarezhou. One of the critical strengths of Gonarezhou’s Ranger Team is that more than 90% of our rangers originate from areas directly around the Park.  This means that not only does this create employment opportunities, but it also fosters a sense of value in conservation and a collective drive to protect it.

To protect and conserve the biodiversity, wilderness, ecological process, and wild and scenic landscapes in Gonarezhou.

Building Conservation Leaders

Resource protection in the context of Gonarezhou is highly complex and requires a highly trained, resilient and professional ranger force. Key to this is the ongoing training of our ranger team, ensuring they not only protect the critical natural resources within the park but conduct themselves with the highest levels of professionalism and integrity.

 With continued threats facing wildlife across the globe, it’s important that our rangers are trained in law enforcement and crime-scene investigations.  Still, to do their jobs safely, they also need leadership and communication skills, tactical tracking and survival skills, and first-aid training.  The purpose of leadership training is for our rangers to gain insight into the role of leadership in conservation and to provide them with the skills, knowledge and attitude necessary to add value to their job.  Effective leadership training plays a crucial role in ensuring the success of our ranger efforts in protecting the Park.  Moreso, our ranger teams undergo regular in-house refresher training, and leaders within the teams are provided ongoing mentoring and support to enable them to lead their teams safely and professionally.  Groups are sent annually on leadership or professional development courses aimed at constantly enhancing their abilities and conduct in the field.

Ongoing Training

Our rangers are involved in a series of events throughout the year to help them discover more about the natural world and also to help enhance their leadership, professional and community responsibility.  There is always something on offer to suit the qualities and abilities of each ranger.

Leadership Training: Leadership training is an essential means to raise awareness and understanding of the role of leadership in our law enforcement unit.  During the training, particular emphasis is placed on leadership and management, conservation ethics, law enforcement ethics, community engagement, communication and, most importantly, human rights.  This unique curriculum is a ringing endorsement that rangers are more than just the ‘boots on the ground’.  They are conservation’s first responders – a force for wildlife and people and an asset to vital law enforcement activities across our vulnerable landscape.

Exchange Programmes: Ranger exchanges support the professional capacity development of our rangers by maintaining connections between rangers working across the country (and elsewhere in Africa) and providing a platform for exchanging information and enhancing skills and knowledge.  Our rangers can gather first-hand information on how other like-minded organisations manage their wildlife resources through exchange programmes.  Throughout the years, GCT has sent rangers to Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, and Germany, and in return, we have also received rangers from other countries.

First Aid Training: The most crucial aspect of ongoing training is to train and equip rangers to keep them safe and effective.  With that in mind, our training program covers vital elements required in a medical emergency- from scene management to practical First Aid.  We teamed with medical service providers to develop a practical module to ensure rangers efficiently execute their First Aid training when necessary.  This training not only makes rangers well-prepared to help themselves and each other in case of any eventuality in the field but also makes Rangers more significant assets to their communities, particularly in communities living far from definitive care at clinics and hospitals.

Becoming a Ranger

Recruitments for rangers happen opportunistically and as needed to intensify ranger presence within the Park to monitor wildlife.

To become a Gonarezhou field ranger, you need to attain qualification at a short pre-selection exercise to assess the potential for future employment.  Community members living directly adjacent to the Park are given first preference during the recruitment process.  Recommended qualifications to help get your foot in the door for a career as a field ranger would be:

  • Aged between 18 and 32 years old
  • Physically and mentally fit and healthy
  • Ability to read, write and learn new information quickly
  • Have no outstanding deposit fine, pending court case or warrant of arrest.

If successful during the pre-selection process, the candidates will be notified and will attend a three-week selection at HQ.  After the selection, there is an intensive three-month course which consists of theory and practical work.