More than just rangers

Daryn Wood
THE Baakens Valley is being kept safe under the watchful eye of the rangers who have been instrumental in reducing crime in the area.
The Baakens Valley Rangers have been working with the police and private companies since mid-December 2011 to bring about a 100% reduction in crime in the Baakens Valley.
According to senior conservation officer Morgan Griffiths, to his knowledge there have been no muggings at all over this period.
“The rangers have also been credited with bringing about a 30% reduction in house break-ins along the valley,” he said.
They are sponsored by the Coca-Cola Fortune company, and are a partnership project of the Wildlife and Environment Society of SA (Wessa) and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.
Along with other partners such as the Baakens Valley Preservation Trust and Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, they are developing the tour-guiding skills of the rangers in birding, biodiversity, wetlands and outdoor education to support schools environmental education and tourist guiding in the city.
The Birdlife Eastern Cape Club have been developing local bird-guiding expertise in Port Elizabeth, providing courses in bird identification and guiding.
Last week, Birdlife EC chairman Corné Erasmus and vice-chairman Andy Nixon presented three Baakens Valley Rangers with bird-guiding competency certificates after they had completed a course in October last year.
The rangers were also delighted to be each presented with a pair of binoculars and bird guidebook each, to assist in their guiding.
“While still expanding their bird identification skills, the rangers are now competent to show local and foreign visitors to Port Elizabeth some of the choice birding spots in the Baakens Valley,” said Griffiths.
Bidlife EC conducts monthly walks and bird-ringing research in the Baakens Valley. In wanting to help improve the rangers’ skills and increase birding tourism in Port Elizabeth, Birdlife EC joined the Baakens Valley Community Partnership, an organisation working to uplift this natural treasure in the heart of the city.
To have the rangers escort your group in the valley, contact December Goduka (NMBM) on 082-416-4414 or e-mail Morgan Griffiths (Wessa) on morgan@ wessaep.co.za

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