People, Environment

3 Park Rangers Killed on Duty

3 Park Rangers Killed on Duty3 Park Rangers Killed on Duty

Patrolling the Geno Biosphere Reserve in Hormozgan Province on Friday was supposed to be a routine affair for Mohammad Dehqani and Parviz Hormozi. But fate had other plans.

While driving around the western edges of the protected area, the two park rangers came across a pair of poachers who opened fire and killed Mohammad and Parviz on the spot.

A day later about 600 km northwest of Geno, in Bamou National Park in Fars Province, Manouchehr Shojaeian who was pursuing illegal hunters was shot in the chest and throat, and died hours later at a nearby hospital.

The deaths of three park rangers in the span of two days highlight the dangers these brave, hardworking people face on a daily basis, with little to no recognition for their efforts—until, of course, it is too late.

So far, 119 park rangers have died in the line of duty.

Local media reported on Saturday morning that arrests were made in the murders of Dehqani and Hormozi, with two suspects—a father and son—confessing to the crime. At the time of writing, the killers of Shojaeian are still at large.

Massoumeh Ebtekar, the head of the Department of Environment, responded to the deaths on her personal channel on the smartphone messaging application Telegram, saying, “We promise that your sacrifice will not be in vain.”

Mohammad Reza Tabesh, chairman of the Environment and Sustainable Development Faction in the Majlis (parliament), was quoted as saying by ISNA that “the parliament was ready to step in”.

It was not immediately clear if he meant the Majlis would get involved in the current murder cases or that legislators would take steps to ensure the protection and security of park rangers.

Park rangers are among the most hardworking yet poorly paid employees of DOE who do not receive the legal protection they need. Numerous park rangers have been charged in the past and at present with murder for killing illegal hunters in gun fights.

Environmentalists deride the lack of legal protection for park rangers, arguing that if they are charged for murder for doing their job, they should not be armed in the first place.