SATIB Insurance Brokers, together with the Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA), runs a joint venture (JV) called Ranger Protect, which aims to provide risk cover for game rangers who cannot afford it. The project was started in October last year.

SATIB Insurance Brokers New Business Development Coordinator, Tyne van der Merwe, talking on the joint venture, says: “Together we aim to get rangers of Africa onto cover that will protect them and their families should disaster strike,” adding: “Rangers generally don’t earn very much and don’t have very good living and working conditions. Stats show that they do not have a high sense of morale, as they don’t feel very secure in what they do. Together, we aim to change that.”

GRAA CEO, Andrew Campbell elaborates: “In their efforts to protect our natural heritage, rangers face risks associated with dangerous wild animals, sickness, community backlash and the increasing threat of armed poachers and militia groups. Many rangers are killed, injured or incapacitated every year. We recognise that for rangers to confidently perform their duties in the field, they need adequate insurance protection, knowing that if they are wounded in the line of duty, that they will receive adequate support. Apart from their own welfare, rangers also seek to have their families supported, should an unfortunate event occur.”

According to van der Merwe, some companies do offer rangers certain benefits, but the majority do not have things such as medical evacuation and a crisis-call team ready to help should something happen to them. These are a must-have in such a dangerous job within Africa, says van der Merwe.

“Rangers protect the wildlife and the wilderness areas. These are two of the main draw cards for inbound tourists to Africa. Without these two draw cards, the tourism industry will suffer,” adds van der Merwe.

Currently, Ranger Protect provides cover in South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, eSwatini (Swaziland), Mozambique, Angola, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, with further territories being introduced in time.

The goal for Ranger Protect is to have 10 000 rangers covered by the end of 2018. To date, 1 000 rangers have been covered, all for a period of three years. “So we are at 10% of the goal right now,” adds van der Merwe.

“We want to challenge the tourism industry to get involved with this project,” says van der Merwe, who told Tourism Update that it costs R385 (€24.80) to protect one ranger for one year.

A Given Gain account has been set up for the project, and all money raised goes to the GRAA which will then allocate the funds to the rangers on the ground. Donations can be made in most major currencies and from anywhere in the world.

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