The illegal wildlife trade is one of the highest value illicit trade sectors globally, threatening both human well-being and biodiversity. A prominent example is ivory poaching, leading to an estimated 30% decline in African elephant populations between 2007 and 2014 and costing African states an estimated US$25 million annually in lost tourism revenues.
Rangers are the foundation of action to combat poaching, a job that is incredibly challenging. A recent survey of 7100 rangers across 28 countries showed 50% lack access to clean water, 34% contracted malaria in the preceding year, only 18% are able to live with their families, and 81% believe their jobs are dangerous.
Globally and daily, hundreds of thousands of wildlife rangers patrol wide areas, encountering all manner of plants, animals and signs of poaching like bushmeat snares or elephant carcasses. The data rangers collect, and their intimate knowledge of the protected areas they patrol, constitute a treasure trove of valuable information that can guide the management of biodiversity. MORE
Header image: Elephant bulls in the Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe. Credit: GettyImages.