Lao rangers join forest training

Today, forest rangers completed a two-week intensive training course at Khao Yai National Park, which is earning a reputation as a national and regional center of excellence in park management and ranger patrolling.

FREELAND's Mark Bowman instructs Thai and Lao Forest Rangers at Khao Yai. Photo by Joy Asato

What made this course different from previous trainings is that 20 Lao rangers from across the border joined their Thai counterparts to learn best-practice forest protection techniques. Many forests in Laos have been devastated by poaching and this joint training was a chance to compare approaches and exchange skills.

International forest protection experts and local trainers instructed rangers in the latest navigation and patrolling techniques; reconnaissance, arrest and crime scene processing procedures; as well as first-aid skills – the sort of practical training that can mean the difference between life and death when rangers face hostile situations.

Ranger Training Tatical Maneuvers. Photo by Joy Asato Ranger Training Forest Patrol. Photo by Joy Asato

Patrolling Southeast Asia’s forests can be extremely dangerous. Conflicts with wildlife poachers, illegal loggers and land grabbers are a regular occurrence.

An increasing government focus and ongoing efforts by conservation groups is ensuring more rangers have the training and equipment they need to safely and effectively protect Southeast Asia’s forest ecosystems for future generations. However, it remains an immensely challenging task, even in well resourced protected areas like Khao Yai.

This latest training course was run by Thailand’s National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department (DNP), with support from FREELAND.

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