‘Rangers First’ Pilot launched in Kafue National Park

‘Rangers First’ Pilot launched in Kafue National Park

WildCross team rolls out advanced medical training for park rangers across 6 anti-poaching units in Zambia’s largest park.

The train-the-trainer programme is the beginning of a holistic effort with local organisations and Government to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trade through educating local rangers that patrol the park on foot and increasing their capacity to work at reach.

Bespoke tactical medical training for anti-poaching units

Designed by WildCross, the Australian-British team, brought a bespoke tactical- style level of training, based on their military, NGO and UN experience. The Rangers First programme targets simple and improvised methods for enabling rangers to act fast to save lives in the event of gun-shot wounds, explosive injuries and road traffic accidents which are a constant risk. Also covering infectious disease mitigation and injuries from wildlife such as snake bites and human-animal conflict.

“We understand that there is very limited healthcare in the region, covering the park rangers and the local community. Our programme aims to support rangers with advanced emergency first aid training and medical equipment, tailored for their fieldwork, providing them with the capability to share this knowledge with others,” says WildCross Founder Stephanie Wong.

Ranger carrying out breathing assessment on an injured colleague
Ranger carrying out breathing assessment on an injured colleague

Medical kits will enable rangers to respond quickly in emergencies

Through training locals on the ground and equipping them with essential medical kit and knowledge, rangers have a higher success rate at reducing injury and subsequent death. The partnership with the Scientific Exploration Society allowed the team to procure emergency first aid kits for the rangers. Weighing less than 2kg, the kits provide life-saving equipment to tackle catastrophic haemorrhage and compromised breathing as well as aids to stabilise and assist in the evacuation of severely injured patients. Kits have been procured for both further teaching and active use in the field.

The delivery of the pilot was well-received by the rangers, with feedback suggesting this was in part due to the credible tactical experience and expertise that WildCross brings with them. The team partnered with local organisations Musekese Conservation, Game Rangers International and Panthera, along with the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DNPW). Due to the extremely positive results and feedback, DNPW will now be including the train-the-trainer Rangers First programme as part of their general ranger course curriculum at the Chunga Training School, which all park rangers need to undertake in order to graduate as an officer.

Classroom session – heat injury
Classroom session – heat injury

Empowering rangers with knowledge to share with local communities

Rangers First not only gives trainers the ability to cascade and improve medical response across their entire teams, but also to spread their knowledge among the communities in which they live and work. The course empowers rangers to respond to medical emergencies and following accidents while out on patrol as well as throughout the community, thereby binding the community closer to the conservation goals.

“Together with our partners on the ground, we hope to tackle poaching and illegal wildlife trade at the forefront, through the individuals that protect the wildlife at Kafue National Park. By helping to enable the rangers, we can reduce injuries and death that go hand-in-hand with the work they take on with confidence.”

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