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Wildlife Heroes: Woodland Park Zoo Celebrates World Ranger Day

Posted by Meghan Sawyer, Communications

Members of the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program team at work in the YUS (Yopno-Uruwa-Som) Conservation Area of Papua New Guinea. Photo: Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program/Woodland Park Zoo 

Thousands of brave people around the world dedicate their lives to protecting wildlife, helping to ensure others can enjoy the beauty of planet earth for generations to come. These wildlife heroes are called rangers, and we’re celebrating them this World Ranger Day. While we can’t introduce you to all rangers around the globe, we can introduce you to an all-star team of rangers spanning the Pacific Northwest to Papua New Guinea (or PNW to PNG!). In PNG, they are diligently working to protect the endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo and the pristine cloud forests in which they live.

Matschie’s tree kangaroos are native to the Huon Peninsula of Papua New Guinea. Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

For more than 25 years, Woodland Park Zoo’s Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) has worked with local communities in Papua New Guinea to establish the community-based YUS (Yopno-Uruwa-Som) Conservation Area, and establish the YUS Conservation Ranger Program. This team of local community rangers patrols and gathers monthly wildlife monitoring data throughout the area, and many of them have been with the team since Day One! Right now, their team is at a workshop led by the TKCP team in YUS (pictured below), learning and refreshing skills to be the best rangers possible. These conservation champions took some time to share about their responsibilities and the value on saving species and forests in their community.

The Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program rangers are together at a workshop this week in Papua New Guinea. Photo: Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program/Woodland Park Zoo

“My daily work in the field includes patrolling the Conservation Area (taking GPS points of animals), increasing community awareness related to livelihood, education, health and conservation, and assisting other staff in the zone” said YUS Conservation Area Ranger Arami Amos. “I would like everyone to know the benefits of this program, to know how to manage their environment to sustain their futures, and to understand the tasks and responsibilities of rangers. As a ranger, I must visit conservation areas in other parts of the country to learn new skills and ideas.”

WDFW officers work within our communities and out in the wild. Photo: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Here in our state, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officers share similarities with these rangers in Papua New Guinea. Though they work thousands of miles apart, a common goal unites them: protecting local wildlife. Woodland Park Zoo also works with WDFW with the mission to put an end to wildlife trafficking.

Protecting wildlife means that of officers from WDFW go to a range of places, including forests, waterways, suburbs and the middle of the ocean. Photo: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife 

“Work leads us into the forests, waterways, suburbs, the middle of the ocean or remote environments. The one nice thing about being a Fish and Wildlife Officer is you might have a plan set for the day to patrol an area, but you often will get a call that there is an emergency like someone calling in illegal timber harvesting, fishing poaching, or someone that is injured or in need of assistance. Every day is always different – no day is the same,” said WDFW Community Outreach Liaison Becky Bennett.

”There are a lot of species of flora and fauna in Washington state that are really in need of being protected. Our main purpose is to educate the public on what the rules and regulations are so that we continue to sustainably manage species and protect those that need protection. We can all do our part to keep Washington a great place to live and explore,” added Bennett.

We salute the hardworking men and women around the world who dedicate their lives to protecting wildlife! Photo: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

To learn more about Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program and the YUS Conservation Area Ranger program, visit To learn more about Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, visit