Home Travel International Women’s Ranger Week: Introducing the Women Leading the Charge in Conservation

International Women’s Ranger Week: Introducing the Women Leading the Charge in Conservation

Assiat Ingabire, the inaugural accredited female field guide in Rwanda, stands among a burgeoning cohort of women dedicated to safeguarding global wildlife and defying traditional gender stereotypes.

by Soofiya

Nature is inherently unpredictable, offering a sense of enchantment in the unknown,” remarks Assiat Ingabire, a female ranger and guide at Wilderness Magashi in Rwanda.

This exclusive safari camp, nestled within a national park, stands as Rwanda’s sole safari establishment with an accredited female wildlife guide on its team. Ingabire’s childhood near Akagera National Park and her connection to the wildlife sparked her aspiration to become a ranger.

After graduating from tourism school, she initially served as a community freelance guide in Akagera National Park. Over the past two decades, the park transformed from the brink of irreparable degradation to being a sanctuary for savannah-adapted species, thanks to community-led anti-poaching efforts and wildlife reintroduction programs.

In 2019, the pandemic halted the community touring program in the park, affecting Ingabire’s income. In 2022, she joined Wilderness Magashi, where her days are now dedicated to patrolling the 6,500-hectare park, monitoring wildlife, and leading tourists on safari drives and boat tours.

Despite facing challenges, Ingabire finds fulfillment in her work, especially after becoming the first Rwandan female certified by the Field Guides Association of South Africa (FGASA) in March. This esteemed qualification strengthens her commitment to wildlife guiding.

Ingabire is part of a growing number of courageous women contributing to biodiversity and environmental conservation. Recognizing the gender imbalance in the wildlife ranger workforce globally, the non-profit organization How Many Elephants initiated World Female Ranger Week to raise awareness.

Female rangers like Purnima Devi Barman in India and Raabia Hawa in Kenya are making significant contributions to conservation efforts. The inclusion of more women in wildlife conservation not only addresses gender disparities but also brings diverse perspectives and skills to the field.

Acknowledging the efforts of female rangers, travelers can contribute by respecting and supporting female guides and rangers during safaris. Ingabire emphasizes the importance of responsible tourism to minimize the negative impact of overtourism on wildlife and the environment.

As the travel industry experiences a resurgence post-pandemic, travelers can play a vital role in preserving biodiversity by adhering to safety guidelines and promoting sustainable practices. Ingabire envisions a positive impact when tourists appreciate the thrill of discovering wildlife during safaris, supporting the crucial work of female rangers in the process.

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