People, Environment

Defense Ministry to Arm Park Rangers for 5 Years

Defense Ministry to Arm Park Rangers for 5 YearsDefense Ministry to Arm Park Rangers for 5 Years

The Defense Ministry has signed an agreement to supply park rangers with weapons for five years, ensuring that the defenders of protected areas will face no shortage of supplies for at least the next half-decade.

The agreement was reached by the Department of Environment, the ministry and the Management and Planning Organization of Iran.

Hamidreza Kheildar, the head of DOE’s protection unit, said the ministry’s move is in line with plans to empower park rangers and standardize their equipment and self-defense tools, Mehr News Agency reported.

The equipment, which is all domestically-produced and comply with the latest international standards, will be provided gradually over a five-year period.

“The Defense Ministry’s measure is a turning point in the empowerment of rangers and will enhance the efficiency of the country’s environmental protection system,” said the official, adding that it is also an opportunity for DOE offices to draw on provincial budgets to raise park rangers’ personal payments.

Park rangers are among the most hardworking yet poorly paid DOE employees who do not receive the legal protection they deserve. Despite having the authority to carry weapons, park rangers normally find themselves in prison for using their weapons to defend protected areas against armed poachers.

Numerous park rangers have been charged in the past with murder for killing illegal hunters in gun fights. While the agreement with the ministry is unlikely to help boost the rangers’ legal protection, it will at least help upgrade their weapons and equip them with better protective gear.