Fifty-six. That's the number of park rangers who have reportedly lost their lives this year in the line of duty. Sadly, the number may actually be far higher as not all ranger deaths are reported. In the public eye, environmental crime is often fought at panel discussions or from behind a desk, where it's easy to forget the tireless work carried out by people who commit their lives to the preservation of the world's flora and fauna.

Today is World Ranger Day – a chance to pay tribute to the sacrifices of some and the dedication of all.

Ranger Honour Roll 2014 07 31
Ranger Roll of Honour. Image: The Thin Green Line

“The rise in elephant and rhino poaching has led to a significant increase in the deaths of rangers in Africa,” according to Sean Willmoer, International Ranger Federation (IRF) president and founder of the Thin Green Line Foundation (TGLF). “These guys dedicate their lives to their jobs and to our planet and should be treated like heroes.

“That is why we have introduced World Ranger Day which takes place on 31 July each year. It is the day we remember those special rangers who lost their lives in the field with an honour roll and at the same time we celebrate the incredible job these guys do out there every day. They risk their lives for the planet and they often spend months away from their families to do it. It is a dedication to a terrific cause.”

Both Jane Goodall and the Duke of Cambridge have showed their support for the initiave:

Header image: Nick Castle