World Ranger Day 2023: Honoring Thailand’s Environmental Heroes

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In a grand commemoration of valor and dedication, the “World Ranger Day 2023” event was organized on July 31, 66 (2023) at Kaeng Krachan National Park, Phetchaburi province. Spearheaded by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, the Royal Forest Department, and the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), the event brought together partner agencies both domestically and internationally. Its primary mission was to honor the courageous forest rangers, whose unwavering commitment has been pivotal in safeguarding and preserving natural resources, wildlife, marine habitats, and coastal regions. Additionally, the event aimed to inspire and uplift the spirits of these dedicated forest guardians while raising awareness about their crucial conservation endeavors.

Thailand currently boasts a total of 26,400 forest rangers, distributed among three key departments: the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, housing 20,275 rangers; the Royal Forest Department, comprising 5,737 rangers; and the DMCR, with 388 rangers under its wings. Over the years, these agencies have undertaken numerous rescue operations to provide assistance to rangers who encountered perilous situations while on duty. Since 2547, they have extended aid in a total of 444 cases, unfortunately witnessing 199 fatalities and 245 injuries. The total compensation for these incidents stands at a staggering 11,684,983 Baht.

Mr. Warawut Silpa-archa, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, emphasized the vital role of forest rangers in preserving the integrity of the country’s natural resources. These pristine treasures serve as crucial sites for education, research, and tourism, highlighting their significance in the present-day scenario, wherein environmental conservation takes center stage due to its profound impact on global issues like climate change, food security, and clean water accessibility, directly influencing people’s quality of life. Despite the inherent risks and sacrifices they face, the work of forest rangers remains indispensable, earning them well-deserved accolades for their unwavering dedication to their noble duty.

Mr. Atthapol Charoenshunsa, the Director-General of the DMCR, shed light on the historical significance of World Ranger Day, which was established during a momentous meeting of the International Federation Ranger (IRF) in Scotland on July 31, 2549. This solemn day is dedicated to honoring the brave forest rangers who have demonstrated unparalleled heroism and laid down their lives in the line of duty. The annual event fosters an inclusive spirit, with various organizations, associations, and foundations from both public and private sectors coming together to lend unwavering support to the cause of forest rangers. It serves as a poignant reminder of the paramount importance of their mission and instills a deep sense of pride and encouragement in them to persevere in their arduous endeavors of forest and marine conservation.

Taking the event nationwide, 18 locations across the country actively participated in the World Ranger Day celebrations, connected through live streaming via Zoom. The event’s agenda comprised heartfelt ceremonies, expressing gratitude and recognition to the forest rangers, interspersed with exhibitions showcasing their remarkable achievements in forest conservation, community engagement, and the implementation of innovative technologies to enhance their operational efficiency and safety. Moreover, the event witnessed an unwavering commitment from the government to uplift the welfare and remuneration of forest rangers, as their monthly salary was raised from 9,000 to 11,000 Baht, effective October 1, 2566.

At Kaeng Krachan National Park, the festivities were replete with diverse activities. The event facilitated the presentation of certificates and essential items to the rangers, lauding their commendable efforts in forest protection. It emphasized community participation in fostering sustainable coexistence with forests and showcased cutting-edge technologies and initiatives that bolster the effectiveness of ranger operations. A significant highlight of the event was the spotlight on the “Kaeng Krachan” global heritage community network, encompassing over 20 communities, which proudly showcased their local products during the exhibition. The event undoubtedly reverberated with a strong sense of pride and appreciation for the guardians of Thailand’s natural heritage.

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