WATCH | MEC Mabuyane honours rangers
The strides made by provincial field rangers to protect endangered species was acknowledged by Economic development, environmental affairs and tourism MEC Oscar Mabuyane when the Eastern Cape parks and tourism agency(ecpta) held a Ranger’s Day celebration at the Thomas Baines Nature Reserve near Makhanda on Friday.
Attended by 45 rangers from reserves across the province, it was a day of honour and encouragement for rangers.
Speaking at the event, Mabuyane, who was dressed in ranger regalia, saluted and thanked the rangers for their efforts in preserving the endangered wildlife species.
“There are many more cases where rangers have showcased just how essential they are to the conservation dialogue and today we look each one of you in the eye and thank you for the immense contribution you play in curbing poaching incidents in our conservation estate,” he said.
The biggest winner on the day was Alice-born and Great Fish River nature reserve field ranger, Lukhanyo Nyamezele, after he scooped the Field Ranger of the Year award and the MEC Special Award.
This follows after Nyamezele helped take down some rhino poachers when he refused a bribe from two poachers in December last year and informed the authorities.
Speaking to the Daily Dispatch, Nyamezele said he could not fully disclose what transpired since “since the matter is being settled before the court”, he said.
He however, said he was surprised to receive the award after serving six years as a ranger.
“I did not expect this. For me to receive such an award for what I did encourages us as rangers to become even better and makes us feel appreciated. I am very thankful,” he said.
While speaking from the podium ECPTA CEO Vuyani Dayimani could not hide his emotions when he described the importance of his employees.
“These are men and women who have risked their lives for our rhinos. When there is an instance where a poaching incident occurs, you cab see from their eyes that it’s like they have lost a sibling. That is how attached they become to these animals and their work,” said Dayimani.