PUT-IN-BAY, OHIO – Timber poachers, illegal miners and hunters killed more than half of the 65 Rangers who died in the line of duty around the world the past 12 months. Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial will pay tribute to their sacrifice on World Ranger Day Monday, July 31. Of the 65 recorded deaths, two were United States National Park Rangers. Garrett Barnett was killed in a traffic accident and Justin Beebe perished fighting a fire.
“Our jobs can be dangerous,” said Park Superintendent Barbara Fearon, “but Rangers in India and Africa literally are at risk every day at work while protecting their country’s natural resources and wildlife.” India lost 28 Rangers since July 31 of last year and 34 of the 65 recorded deaths were at the hands of poachers, illegal loggers, and other thieves. Another 11 Rangers were killed by wild animals, mostly elephants but also lions, a leopard, a rhino and a sloth bear were responsible for loss of life. Rangers were also killed by militants and terrorists, and 5 Rangers in the Congo lost their lives during a rescue operation. The majority of deaths happened predominately in developing nations and conflict zones.
During World Ranger Day, flags representing the 25 countries that lost Rangers will line the park grounds in front of the Visitor Center. Superintendent Fearon said Rangers will give a program on the efforts of Rangers around the world and why it’s important that we recognize their work and acknowledge their sacrifice.
Australian Park Ranger Sean Willmore traveled to 23 countries in 12 months in 2004 and wrote the 2007 documentary, “The Thin Green Line,” about the many Ranger deaths in the line of duty around the globe. He used the profit from the film to fund the Thin Green Line Foundation, the official charity of the International Ranger Federation. More than 1,000 Ranger deaths have been recorded in the past 10 years and many more Rangers have been severely injured. The Thin Green Line Foundation looks after the families of those who have died and those who have suffered injuries in the line of duty.
“It’s important,” Superintendent Fearon said, “that we honor these men and women for their service and their sacrifice, and it’s important to our park to participate in the observance of World Ranger Day.”