People, Environment

Ranger Shortage Hurting Conservation Efforts

Ranger Shortage Hurting Conservation EffortsRanger Shortage Hurting Conservation Efforts

The number of park rangers in protected areas of Kohgilouyeh-Boyerahmad Province is far below the global standard, according to the director of the provincial office of Department of Environment, Seyyed Asadollah Hashemi.

At 312,000 hectares, wildlife refuge covers more than a fifth of the province’s land area, but there are only 80 rangers employed by the department to patrol the massive region.

“Based on international standards, every ranger must cover a maximum of 1,000 hectares, but in Kohgilouyeh-Boyerahmad every ranger is forced to patrol 4,000 hectares,” Hashemi told IRNA.

The DOE has repeatedly blamed the shortage of park rangers on lack of funding. Park rangers are among the most severely underpaid government employees in Iran.

To help protect the province’s rich wildlife, the general public must cooperate with officials.

“To ensure the survival of our region’s fauna, it is imperative that wildlife conservation becomes embedded in our culture,” the official said.

A large number of wild animals, including bears and leopards, are killed by shepherds in an effort to protect their livestock. To discourage such practice, the DOE has begun cooperating with an insurance company to offer what they call “wildlife insurance,” which compensates shepherds for any damages incurred by certain animals.

The province’s seven protected areas are home to 44 endemic plant species, 308 vertebrate animals and 220 bird species.