REGUA rangers

Regular patrolling of the reserve is essential to guarantee the protection of the acquired land. It also reduces illegal hunting, and the collection of heart of palm, bromeliads and orchids. Although the rangers have no legal enforcement status they are uniformed and have become well known and respected in the local communities. If a hunter or evidence of hunting is encountered then any hunting materials are destroyed and the hunters are asked to leave immediately, but in extreme cases the police can be requested to assist although this has never yet been necessary. It is estimated that hunting in REGUA land has been reduced by 98% since 2001.

All of the six rangers are from the local villages of Guapiaçu or Matumbo, and some of them used to be hunters themselves so they know the techniques used, they can identify the various animal tracks and signs and importantly, they know many of the hunters that operate in their areas.

In order to make their patrolling easier and to enable visitors to access the forest, the rangers have created a network of marked trails with distance markers. They usually patrol in pairs unless they are required to guide visitors or help with trail maintenance.

In order to identify potential future rangers and to encourage an interest in the environment, REGUA has established a Young Rangers Programme where interested teenagers from the local schools can accompany the senior rangers and learn about their work.