Anti-Poaching Ranger

Being an Anti-poaching ranger involves patrolling wilderness areas looking for signs of intrusion and illegal activity in order to protect wildlife and deter, prevent and apprehend poachers. This is a hands-on, demanding and dangerous career path.

In day to day work you may; patrol vast wilderness areas, track wildlife and humans, use telemetry tracking systems, participate in drills and training, locate and remove snares and other poaching tools from wilderness areas, participate in road blocks to stop and search vehicles, build relations with local communities and law enforcement, collect data on species and habitats, respond to wildlife crime reports, gather intelligence, apprehend poachers.

Key Skills Required:

  • Survival skills
  • Tracking skills
  • First Aid
  • Dangerous wildlife knowledge
  • Comfortable working in remote areas
  • Conservation ethic
  • Strong observational skills
  • Excellent physical condition
  • Adaptable
  • Exceptional team work skills
  • Firearms competency
  • Conflict management

Key Points to Know:

  • This role requires long and unsociable work hours, you will usually live in a base camp with the anti-poaching team and have a set number of weeks working followed by a week or so off to return home.
  • Anti-poaching jobs are generally dangerous and are often low paying
  • Many anti-poaching rangers have military or ranger backgrounds

To be an Anti-Poaching Ranger you will need to:

Undergo intense selection training with an anti-poaching or conservation organisation. You could also complete ranger or tracker training and then go into anti-poaching.

Some organisations have volunteer programs related to anti-poaching and wildlife monitoring which may offer you a way to get a foot in the door.

Estimated average salary: There is not enough data to provide this information. We estimate the average salary to be similar to that of a wildlife rehabilitator or game ranger.

As an Anti-Poaching Ranger, you can anticipate employment in a variety of roles including:

  • Private Game Reserves
  • National Parks
  • Conservation NGOs
  • Anti-Poaching Organisation

Being an Anti-Poaching Ranger is a tough but rewarding role. Currently, many anti-poaching positions are located in Southern African countries where wildlife poaching (rhino, elephant, pangolin etc.) is rife. You will experience amazing wildlife and will be actively making a difference. Anti-Poaching can be difficult to get into as it is a relatively new career path that has been born out of necessity and due to this is currently unregulated with no official training or qualification routes, however joining an organisation such as Protrack (based in South Africa) can help you to get started, gain hands-on experience and give you a feel for what this job is all about. You may be able to progress into roles such as Anti-Poaching Trainer, Lead Scout or K9 Handler.

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Megan Richards