September 7, 2020

The Wildlife Ranger Challenge Awards Wildlife ACT with Emergency Relief Funding

The Wildlife Ranger Challenge, of which Wildlife ACT is a participant, is a pan-African virtual race uniting ranger teams across the continent to raise money to support the thousands of rangers affected by the pandemic and the iconic African wildlife they protect. Supporters around the world are encouraged to run in solidarity with them on the 3rd of October 2020.

The continental-wide collapse of wildlife tourism caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has eliminated an essential funding stream for wildlife protection. This threatens to undo years of rangers’ conservation gains, compromising decades of development and conservation work across Africa.

Wildlife ACT has received first-phase emergency funding after demonstrating extraordinary need and impact potential. These funds will be used to support our Community Conservation Programme, which involves in-school conservation lessons, a Kid’s Bush Camp program, adult conservation seminars, Wildlife Ambassador Clubs and community game drives, which much of it focused around Rhino conservation.

All too often, communities that live around wildlife reserves are ostracized from conservation areas. Also, when rural communities are not helped to sustain themselves, or given adequate conservation education, we cannot expect these communities to do anything but look to protected areas for resources as a means of survival. Wildlife ACT works to address these issues.

The Wildlife Ranger Challenge administered by Tusk and Natural State has delivered a first phase total of $2 Million of emergency Covid-19 relief funding to many protected areas across the African continent through the Wildlife Ranger Challenge. Further funding will be released over the coming months as the Challenge progresses. This revenue will meet the immediate needs of recipient protected areas this year, but will only mitigate part of a significant financial deficit projected to last into 2021 and beyond.

“Because of the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic and the associated restrictions on tourism, Wildlife ACT has been significantly affected. We are extremely grateful for the support of the Wildlife Ranger Challenge Fund which has contributed to keeping our teams in the field and maintaining our conservation footprint across the province and the Protected Areas in which we work. With the help of Tusk we have ensured that our team’s livelihoods and conservation impact are maintained during these challenging times” - Wildlife ACT Managing Director, Mark Gerrard

The Wildlife Ranger Challenge

On the 3rd October 2020, up to 50 ranger teams spanning the African continent will unite to compete in a half marathon race carrying their typical 25kg backpack and equipment - building comradery and raising awareness of the hardship currently faced by those in their profession. Supporters around the world will also be encouraged to bolster efforts and to ‘Run with Rangers’ by taking part in a virtual 5, 10 or 21km run and donating or raising sponsorship.

Wildlife ACT has assembled a team of four runners who will be taking the Challenge as the Zululand Wildlife Monitoring Team. We encourage our followers to support our dedicated participants with donations that will be bolstered by the Scheinberg Relief Fund!

Jarryd Foster
Ryan Mitchell

Doubling Donations

The Challenge is being coordinated by Tusk and Natural State in collaboration with leading Ranger Associations and an independent Steering Committee. The initiative’s founding donor, the Scheinberg Relief Fund, which will MATCH donations from the public, enabling at least 10,000 rangers to get back in the field in at least 30 protected areas.

Due to the devastating and ongoing economic impact of the pandemic, rangers across Africa have had their salaries significantly cut, and many having lost their jobs - leaving families without income and wildlife vulnerable and unprotected. With many rangers stretched to capacity and international and national borders re-opening, it is feared that protected areas across Africa will experience a rapid increase in illegal poaching as well as a decline in well-being and economic security for the communities to whom this wildlife belongs.

The Wildlife Ranger Challenge has mobilised to tackle this crisis. Funds raised will cover salaries for at least 10,000 rangers, enabling them to provide for their families, protect communities and defend endangered wildlife in some of the continent’s most vulnerable areas, including those in KwaZulu-Natal.

More info at #ForWildlifeRangers


Tusk's mission is to amplify the impact of progressive conservation initiatives across Africa. The charity has earned a reputation for providing a highly efficient solution for funding wildlife conservation programmes. Tusk partners with the most effective local organisations, investing in their in-depth knowledge and expertise. By supporting and nurturing their conservation programmes, it helps accelerate growth from an innovative idea to a scalable solution. For more than 30 years, Tusk has helped pioneer an impressive range of successful conservation initiatives across more than 20 countries, increasing vital protection for over 70 million hectares of land and more than 40 different threatened species. But the threat to Africa’s unique natural heritage remains real and more urgent than ever.


The mission of Natural State is landscape restoration at scale. Through large-scale restoration projects our objective is to sequester and store carbon, secure biodiversity and make measurable advances towards the sustainable development goals. In addition to implementing large scale restoration projects, Natural State develops innovative technology and financial mechanisms to unlock private sector capital, thereby accelerating restoration efforts globally.


The Scheinberg Relief Fund was established by businessman and philanthropist, Mark Scheinberg, together with his family, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Its mission is to provide strategic, high impact relief for individuals and communities. As well as reducing the short-term impact of the virus, the Fund also seeks to build a legacy in the communities and initiatives that it gives to, by providing funding for projects that secure a longer-term impact.

Thank you for the support!