International Ranger Awards, Rangers Win from Zambia, Madagascar, and Cambodia

by | Jul 6, 2021 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Inaugural International Ranger Awards announced. Plus

Winning ranger Anety Milimo, Zambia. Also Bénévoles Au Sein De L’aire Protégée, Ranger Team from Madagascar, and 

Ranger Team Chhay Reap Community Crocodile Wardens from  Cambodia.



The very first winners of the 2021 International Ranger Awards, presented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), were announced today, April 7, in a virtual ceremony. These new awards recognise individuals and ranger teams that have gone above-and-beyond the call of duty to protect wildlife and support local communities. The awards, established with the support of the International Ranger Federation, Conservation Allies, and Re:wild (formerly Global Wildlife Conservatinon), complement the existing and ongoing range of awards offered to rangers around the world.

“Rangers are at the very heart of conservation,” said Kathy MacKinnon, chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. “The stories of the winners of the new International Ranger Awards illustrate the scope and breadth of their work. Rangers protect wildlife and important natural habitats, they work with communities to address conflicts with wildlife and support conservation-based livelihoods, they collect scientific data, and serve as educators and communicators introducing young people and the broader public to the wonders of nature.”

Winners of the IUCN WCPA International Ranger Award will receive a unique uniform patch, $10,000 for their associated organization to support their work.

The 10 winners of the 2021 International Ranger Awards are:

  •   Ranger Anety Milimo  from (Zambia):
  •   Ranger Aung Zaw Myint from (Myanmar):
  •   The volunteer ranger team Bénévoles au sein de l’Aire Protégée from (Madagascar): 
  •   A team of indigenous rangers, the Chhay Reap Community Crocodile Wardens from (Cambodia): 
  •   Senior ranger Giorgi Abramishvili from (Georgia):
  •   Ranger Mahindra Giri from (India):
  •   Ranger Ninfa Carianil from (Colombia): 
  •   Ranger Offossou d’Andous Kissi from (Côte d’Ivoire):
  •   Ranger Sathish Sundaram from (India);
  •   Deputy Director Ranger Sergey Erofeev (Russia): 




So who are these 10 courageous rangers and ranger teams who beat out 103 other nominees across 43 countries to become 2021 winners of an International Ranger Award? Some really special people. Like:

Anety Milimo from Zambia. During her 14 years in Mosi Oa Tunya National Park, Anety Milimo has shown exceptional courage and leadership in the face of physical danger on patrols to prevent poaching and wildlife crime.

Anety has also dedicated herself to helping local people secure rights to use natural resources, to develop sustainable livelihoods, and to reduce conflicts with wildlife. She is respected among both her fellow rangers and the communities she works with, and has become a role model for young female rangers.

Her achievements and leadership have made a major contribution to increasing wildlife numbers, reducing illegal fires, attracting support for local community development, helping former poachers become game scouts, and building good relations between the National Park authority and local people.

And, special person ranger Aung Zaw Myint, from Myanmar. Working in often highly challenging situations, Aung Zaw Myint is responsible for coordinating patrols, identifying threats, investigating illegal activities, and protecting the Chatthin Wildlife Sanctuary.

He has risked his life pursuing poachers, but has also invested significant time and energy to better understand how local people view rangers, to learn about their needs, and to help them. As a result, he has earned the trust of local villagers, even convincing some hunters to surrender their guns. Aung Zaw Myint’s dedication has helped slow deforestation in the Chatthin Wildlife Sanctuary compared to surrounding areas and has helped enable recovery of the population of endangered Eld’s Deer since 2015. He is regarded highly by his colleagues for his integrity and effectiveness.

DEEPER DIVE: Virtual Awards Ceremony 



Continuing on the theme of 10 courageous rangers and ranger teams who beat out 103 other nominees across 43 countries to become 2021 winners of an International Ranger Award? Some really special people. Like:

The Ranger team called, Bénévoles au sein de l’Aire Protégée from Madagascar 

Thanks to the dedication of these six young volunteer rangers of different ethnicities and villages, the forests of Menabe Antimena, predicted to be destroyed by fires by the year 2020, have been saved. 

The rangers patrol around 150 kilometres each month, selflessly rushing to extinguish any fires they encounter. The team has galvanized the support of communities and local government to fight the fires. As a result, the number of fires has reduced every year since 2017, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite receiving personal threats for reporting illegal activities, the volunteer rangers continue to patrol and protect Menabe Antimena with no compensation for their work. The association they have created, FOSA, is now inspiring the next generation of conservationists to protect Menabe Antimena.

And the ranger team called, Chhay Reap Community Crocodile Wardens from Cambodia

The Chhay Reap Community Crocodile Wardens patrol remote rivers, wetlands, and forests of Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains to protect the last viable populations of Siamese Crocodiles. This species has deep cultural significance for the Indigenous Chorng people, to which the team belongs. For 21 years, they have been preventing poaching and habitat destruction, monitoring crocodiles, and safeguarding their community’s unique cultural heritage. The team includes respected village elders, who play a strong leadership role in the community.

Their dedication has helped prevent the extinction of the Siamese Crocodile.  They work with their community and collaborate with NGOs and National Park officials, to protect not only crocodiles, but other irreplaceable habitats and species. Their work has been so successful that it is now a model for similar conservation efforts elsewhere in Cambodia.

DEEPER DIVE: Virtual Awards Ceremony




Continuing on the theme of 10 courageous rangers and ranger teams who beat out 103 other nominees across 43 countries to become 2021 winners of an International Ranger Award? Some more really special people. Like:

Giorgi Abramishvili (Georgia)

For most of his 17-year-career, Giorgi Abramishvili was the only ranger protecting the remote Ilto Managed Reserve. To reach the reserve, Giorgi had to walk 35km, crossing the dangerous Ilto River each time. At the reserve, he lived alone for weeks at a time in a simple rustic hut. Despite the hardships, Giorgi’s dedication never wavered; he prevented numerous poaching incidents and strove to build awareness in local communities. At a time when Batsara-Babaneuri Protected Areas suffered lay-offs, he continued patrolling without a salary. As a result of his dedication, Ilto Managed Reserve remains untouched. Now no longer able to make the difficult journey to the Reserve, Giorgi continues to work as a senior ranger in Batsara-Babaneuri.

And from India, Mahindra Giri 

Mahindra Giri has worked for 23 years in and around Rajaji Tiger Reserve. He and his team track and remotely monitor tigers and leopards, and have used the resulting knowledge to help successfully reintroduce tigers to the western part of the Reserve.

Mahindra Giri has been at the forefront of managing conflict with leopards. In challenging circumstances, he was able to convince concerned villagers to allow him and his team to translocate a leopard that had killed 24 people to Rajaji Tiger Reserve. Since then, he has successfully captured and relocated six more leopards, protecting both the cats and villagers from any further conflict. As a result, there have been no further deaths from leopard attacks. Mahindra now also works with local communities to peacefully resolve conflicts with elephants.

DEEPER DIVE: Virtual Awards Ceremony