World Ranger Day takes place every year on the 31 July to celebrate the work Rangers do to protect the world’s natural and cultural heritage.
Western Australia’s Park Rangers’ ‘offices’ are some of the most envious places in the world. I mean, who wouldn’t want to work in places like Karijini National Park or the gorgeous Ningaloo Marine Park?!
No two days are the same with a huge variety of jobs to do, such as welcoming visitors, maintaining park facilities, protecting plants and animals, caring for country and providing emergency response.
We spoke to Ranger Dave, Ngari Capes Marine Park Senior Ranger, to find out what it’s like to be a Ranger.
What do you do?
I am a Marine Park Ranger for the Ngari Capes Marine Park which is located in The Capes region of the south-west.
Our job is very broad and consists of marine park patrols on vessels to ensure people are abiding by zoning regulations and scuba diving as part of marine monitoring programs to check on the health of the marine environment such as seagrass and fish communities.
We also have a large education program to let people know about the zoning regulations and school visits to show kids how great the local marine environment is.
Some not so nice parts of the job are when we have to respond to deceased marine animals on the shore, which is usually quite stinky!
What is your favourite part about your job?
My favourite part of the job is being on the water and patrolling the marine park. You get to see some pretty amazing things such as breaching humpback whales, surfing dolphins or lazy seals.
How long have you been a ranger?
I have been a Marine Park Ranger for about 13 years and have worked in the Perth metropolitan marine parks and the Ningaloo Marine Park as well as assisting with monitoring programs in many other marine parks around the state.
What is one thing you want visitors to know about the park you manage?
I really love spring time in the marine park, especially around the Dunsborough area as many humpback whales travel close to the shore. It is also an emerging southern right whale aggregation area.
This time of year the ocean is starting to settle down from the winter storms and sometimes lots of recreational boats are out enjoying the marine park. It is very important that they keep their distance for the whales safety and also for the visitors safety. We want to ensure that the whales return next year as well as the visitors!