The Virunga Rangers

About The Virunga Rangers

Virunga’s Rangers stand fearlessly on the frontline of conservation for the protection of the Park’s wildlife, natural resources, and for the surrounding communities. They routinely face harsh physical conditions, injury, or even death. Over 200 Rangers have been killed in the line of duty. Without the commitment of these brave men and women, Virunga would not exist.

Park Protection

Virunga currently has over 689 male and female Rangers actively serving to protect the Park and the local communities.

These Rangers go through intense selection processes and extensive training to work for the Park. They are all selected from local Congolese towns and villages and qualify to become civil servants within the Congolese National Park Authority (ICCN).

The Rangers serve in the Park’s four sectors (north, central, south and lake sector), often in extremely difficult circumstances. Virunga’s Rangers face threats from many fronts and risk their lives daily. Over 200 Rangers have been killed whilst serving the Park.

Photo credit: Virunga National Park
Christian is head of the Virunga National Park Canine Unit, which helps to track poachers and contraband such as weapons.
Christian is head of the Virunga National Park Canine Unit, which helps to track poachers and contraband such as weapons.

As a ranger my job is to protect Virunga National Park, not only for the people of Congo, but for the entire world.

Ranger Christian Shamavu Head of Congohounds Unit
  • Photo credit: Adam Kiefer
  • Photo credit: Adam Kiefer
  • Photo credit: Adam Kiefer
  • Photo credit: Adam Kiefer
  • Photo credit: Adam Kiefer
  • Photo credit: Adam Kiefer
Ranger Force Statistics
  • Rangers

    689

    Rangers have completed training and are employed by Virunga

  • Female Rangers

    27

    Female Rangers have completed training and are employed by Virunga

  • Fallen Rangers

    200

    Rangers have lost their lives in the line of duty since 1925

  • Aerial Patrols

    3500

    Hours of aerial surveillance conducted in the Park in 2016

  • Routine Patrols

    10000

    Routine patrols covered a surface of 3,500 square km per month. Every year, foot patrols cover a distance larger than the circumference of the Earth.

Applying Technology

Having a technological edge over militias and poachers is critical for the protection of Virunga’s two-million acres.

Virunga National Park is constantly leveraging advancements in geographic information systems (GIS) and satellite communications to protect the Park.

These technologies play a key role in verifying and defending Park boundaries from encroachment. They are also used to develop three-dimensional threat maps that plot wildlife movement, known militia and poacher camps, and available Ranger patrols. This technology enables Rangers to focus their efforts where needed most and in the safest manner possible.

  • Photo credit: Brent Stirton
  • Photo credit: Brent Stirton