The Thin Green Line
How many of us have not wished that we had become game rangers instead of sitting behind a desk in the smog-filled city, having to endure a nine-to-five job? There is a romantic notion that a ranger spends all of his time out in the bush in short shorts getting tanned, while bottle-feeding orphaned baby antelopes, wrestling crabby crocodiles and generally (not always…) fending off the advances of gorgeous Swedish blondes smitten with Khaki Fever. The term “Jack of all trades” best sums up what a ranger’s job entails. But, just to ensure that we maintain gender equality, “Jill of all trades” also rings true, as more and more female rangers enter the conservation arena which was, in the past, strictly the domain of macho male rangers.
Becoming a game ranger is almost a divine calling and cannot be viewed as just a job. It calls for extraordinary commitment and dedication, with not only a willingness to endure hardships and extreme events, but also with the ability to derive a perverse pleasure from dealing with out-of-the-ordinary circumstances. A game ranger is, indeed, a very special breed!
There are various categories of “rangers”, which include field guides, field rangers, marine rangers, section rangers, regional rangers, head rangers, wardens, etc. Most of these require a talent for tracking, and knowledge of animal behaviour, birding, shooting, First-aid, driving a 4×4 vehicle, bushcraft, astronomy … as well as the two things that rangers fear most: using people skills and doing proper administration.