Three rangers have been killed in separate countries in a deadly month for wildlife defenders.
A ranger at Serra da Capivara national park, in Brazil’s north-eastern Piaui region, was killed by hunters on 18 August. Edilson Aparecido dos Santos and two other colleagues were patrolling the park when they were ambushed by a group of four armed men who are believed to have been hunting in the park illegally. Dos Santos was killed in the shootout that followed, while the other two rangers were injured.
They were protecting the Serra da Capivara park, a Unesco world heritage site home to 25,000-year-old rock paintings. Dos Santos was a contractor from the company Thor, working for the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio). ICMBio said in a statement that “both ICMBio and Thor are taking steps to provide support to staff and their families, and are collaborating with police authorities to clarify the facts”.
In a separate incident in Mexico, Gabriel Ramos Olivera, a ranger at the Chacahua national park in Oaxaca, was shot and killed by suspected poachers. His body was found on the morning of 18 August. The 37-year-old biologist worked as a guard protecting the conservation area of the Chacahua lagoons, home to endangered leatherback turtles and crocodiles.
The same week in Mali, Corporal Souleyman Tangara of the country’s combined army/ranger anti-poaching brigade, died along with a UN peacekeeper at the hands of jihadists in Douentza on 14 August. Tangara’s brigade, tasked with protecting the country’s last desert elephants, were responding to a call to assist the United Nations whose base was under attack in what the UN has described as an act of terrorism. Two of the gunmen died in the violence. “This gives a clear picture of the hazards the brigade, trainers and indeed people of this area face on a day-to-day basis,” said Nigel Kuhn, combat tracking trainer at Chengeta Wildlife, an NGO based in Mali… read more: