The agriculture ministry will join the international community to celebrate the World Rangers Day 2017 today. Bhutan is observing the day for the first time.

Foresters working in other institutions and some who retired will join the celebration.

Agriculture minister, Yeshey Dorji, said that we must honour those who work tirelessly to protect our world’s precious wild species and places, and for inspiring all future generations to protect our planet.

The forest director, Phento Tshering, said rangers and foresters are first on the scene to protect wildlife, forests and the natural world and are often at great personal risk.

He said that foresters and rangers spend weeks and months away from their loved ones for work not only in dangerous and harsh conditions but often so with little or inadequate equipment. “That is why being a part of an international community of rangers will provide us with the special support, knowledge, training and equipment.”

The International Rangers Federation (IRF), set up in 1992, provides a forum for rangers, from around the world, to share their successes and failures in protecting the world’s heritage and to promote information and technology transfer.

Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji said that joining the IRF would bring greater support to the men and women who do vital work on the ground.

Bhutan will launch the membership of its society of Bhutanese foresters to the IRF to further support conservation’s frontline heroes.

Officials from the Department of Forests and Parks Services said that this formal membership is yet another milestone in Bhutan’s commitment towards ensuring that Bhutan’s flora and fauna are protected and public services are delivered effectively. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) facilitated the IRF membership.

Officials also said that the day is an opportunity to pay tribute to rangers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. At least 107 rangers died globally in the line of duty last year alone, of which numerous cases were in Bhutan.

During the celebrations, both serving and retired foresters will be recognized for their role in the conservation of Bhutan’s natural heritage and public services.

A Forest Welfare Fund will also be launched at the event to garner support towards the welfare of foresters in the country.

The department, with the community and private enterprises, and other relevant RNR stakeholders will exhibit their latest innovations at the event to showcase public engagement and support in conservation and sustainable natural resource management.

The event will be observed for more than a week from July 24 to August 2 at the Coronation Park in Thimphu. As part of the weeklong celebrations, an international Wetland Training was held from July 24 to 28, Global Tiger Day was observed on 29, Citizen Birder’s programme will be held on August 1 and the exhibition will be held through August 2.

The ministry will also launch a forestry theme song, songs and MTV programmes on water, waste management and forest fire prevention during the programme today to sensitize public.

Staff reporter