World Ranger Day is celebrated for the first time in Albania, under the motto ‘Protect Nature, act as a Park Ranger’. Last year National Agency for Protected Areas was recognized as a unique responsible body dedicated to protected areas and in each region its staff is building up its capacities and performing rangers’ duties.
Every year on 31 July the World Ranger Day commemorates rangers killed or injured in the line of duty and celebrates the work rangers do to protect and raise awareness on world’s natural and cultural treasures. This day is a unique occasion to support rangers’ work, as some of them are exposed to dangerous environmental conditions like floods and wild animals while others risk their lives confronting illegal woodcuts, fishing or hunting.
To mark this occasion, the Ministry of Environment, National Agency of Protected Areas (NAPA) and 12 Regional Administrations for Protected Areas (RAPA) supported by the EU and Italian Cooperation through the project NaturAL organised an awareness campaign on the importance of rangers’ work. At the seaside promenades and in city centres in each region, a head of RAPA and rangers were present delivering key messages to raise awareness on the work they do and to promote protected areas of the country.
“Rangers protect our nature and therefore our future. Rangers’s daily work in protected areas must be respected and valued because it has a direct impact on our quality of life”, said deputy Minister of Environment Kledi Xhaxhiu in Durres. Zamir Dedej, NAPA Director stressed from Orikum stand: “Celebrating World Ranger Day in 12 regions NAPA is proving its dedication to safeguard the Protected Areas of Albania. Our rangers play a crucial role for the future of protected areas”.
Local communities had the opportunity to learn about the importance of protected areas for them: protected areas give us water, food, medicine and clean air, and help reduce risks and consequences of floods and storms, while providing homes and jobs to people. Rangers patrol the protected areas making sure no illegal activities are happening.
“If we notice any illegal hunting or woodcutting, it is our duty to inform our supervisors, Environment and Forest State Inspectorate and the police. In case of forest fire we take all the necessary measures to put it out. A ranger is in the frontline, makes the first risk evaluation. We also monitor the occurrence of the wildlife, maintain the contacts with local community and schools and educate them about parks and wildlife. A ranger often guides tourists who want to see the most attractive places inside the protected areas”, explains Gëzim Tarja, a ranger from RAPA Tirana.
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