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India loses more foresters than any other country

 

The Times of India, Chennai, 8th September, 2014

 

CHENNAI: India loses more forest rangers each year than any other country in the world. As many as 72 forest rangers died in India in the past three years. Other countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas lost less than 10 rangers in the same period, according to statistics made available to TOI by International Ranger Federation, a non-profit organization working to raise awareness about the work of park rangers. Wild animal attacks and poachers were responsible for most of the ranger deaths in the country.

 

"We are extremely concerned that rangers continue to face high levels of violence and are being murdered at an alarming pace," International Ranger Federation president Sean Willmore said. Nearly 60% of the rangers killed are in Asia, says the federation's report. India lost 34 rangers in 2012, a year in which the US, second on the listthe second largest number of deaths of foresters, lost only six. India recorded 14 forester deaths in 2013 and 24 in 2014, the largest number among all countries for both years.

 

The Philippines and Congo each lost nine forest guards in 2013, Uganda seven and Kazakhstan and Chad each lost six. Kenya has recorded 10 deaths of foresters this year, Thailand six and Tanzania three. While most rangers were killed by animals or poachers, were responsible for most ranger deaths, but some died of diseases like dengue and malaria and in forest fires and road accidents.

 

Wildlife Conservation Society director Ullas Karanth says the thousands of forest officials, guards and rangers of state and central forest departments often have to put their lives on the line. "The country has been successful in protecting wild animals this has also led to officials coming under attack," he said.