Staff of “Desnyansko-Starohutskyi” National Nature Park won the International Ranger Award from the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
This is recognition at the global level of many years of persistent and hard work! Why was this park awarded?
Because staff of the park not only protect nature with power of their hearts but also do it professionally and consistently. And this is what brings real result.
Raids at night, in the morning, during a day. Through fields, forests, swamps, the Desna river, former river estuaries. Hours of sitting in an ambush, without movement, without a cigarette, in the cold. Drafting protocols. Boxes of papers. The price of a registration error is the possibility for poachers to avoid punishment. Complaints. Courts. Years of litigation.
The park staff did not care who the offender was – whether a prosecutor, a smuggler, the best man of the head of the district police department, a local agricultural baron – all their violations were recorded in protocols.
They were not afraid to face a conflict when local “kings” diverted the riverbed to their hunting grounds. Or when local farmers plowed a plot of meadows leased to the local community in the natural area that most parks don’t pay attention to at all.
When a case “got stuck” with the law enforcement officers, or when border guards tried to be “loyal” to poachers, the park did not bury its head in the sand, but rang the bells to the Regional State Administration, the State Environmental Inspectorate, journalists, and the public.
Moreover, in one of the raids, in which EPL analyst Petro Testov also participated, the NPP security service detected violators, drunken armed poachers outside the park, in another region. They could have ignored this because this is not their territory but in this case, after talking with the chief of security, the poachers surrendered.
Unfortunately, all these years the state’s support was insufficient. During the 25 years of its functioning, the park has not received a single car from the state. The issue of the use of weapons by the security service is not settled. Social guarantees are only on paper. Legislation is sometimes ambiguous, leaving loopholes for poachers and violators.
We really hope that the state will finally pay attention to the work of the security services of protected areas.
Although it is sad that the park is receiving the award now when the constant shelling of the Russian aggressors actually paralyzed the work of the park, we are sure our Victory is close. After it, the “Desnyansko-Starohutskyi” NNP will restore everything destroyed by the enemy.
EPL once again congratulates the park on the award and is ready to continue to support it, as it was done in previous years!
This publication was prepared by ICO “Environment-People-Law” as a part of Enhance Non-Governmental Actors Activeness Program ENGAGE funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Pact in Ukraine. The views expressed in this publication are the sole responsibility of PACT and its partners and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) or the United States Government.