The Ministry of Environment on July 31 observed World Ranger Day in remembrance of rangers who either lost their lives or were injured in the line of duty to protect the environment and natural resources.

The ministry said rangers have devoted themselves physically and mentally to protect natural and cultural heritages.

World Ranger Day is celebrated every year on July 31. Cambodia first observed the event in 2017 with a ceremony attended by government officials, representatives of international conservation organisations, Buddhist monks and students, among others.

To bring rangers' efforts to light, the ministry has produced their pictures, featured them in stories and composed songs about their dedication. It has also handed over 100 certificates to outstanding rangers in recognition of their devotion to the nation and nature.

The celebration also aimed to raise public awareness about the role of forest rangers in Cambodia and to urge the public to assist the rangers with protecting, managing and conserving natural resources and the environment in a sustainable manner.

“In the last eight years, two rangers have lost their lives while many others had been injured by attacks from offenders during their mission for the sake of environment and nature,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry also said it is working to encourage more women to enlist in the rangers, as currently there are only 42 out of a total of 1,200 rangers deployed across the 75 protected natural areas and biodiversity corridors which cover 7.3 million hectares of land in 21 provinces.

“Woman rangers are fulfilling their tasks like their man colleagues in patrolling forest, enforcing the laws, raising awareness about the laws and the importance of natural resources and biodiversity to community people in and around the protected areas across the country,” the ministry said.

According to a report issued by the environment ministry, in the first six months of this year rangers conducted 14,422 patrols of protected natural areas and biodiversity corridors and intervened in 4,238 cases of natural resource crimes, confiscating 2,462 chainsaws, 182 trucks, 308 power tillers, 336 motorcycles, 24 tractors and 1,260 cubic metres of wood.