top of page
  • IUCN

IUCN WCPA International Ranger Award

Developed through a collaboration between the IUCN WCPA, the International Ranger Federation, Global Wildlife Conservation, and Conservation Allies, these awards, created in 2020, aim to highlight and felicitate the extraordinary work that rangers do in protected and conserved areas worldwide.

The 2nd Annual International Ranger Award will recognise the remarkable work of rangers in protected areas around the world. Hosted by the IUCN and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, in collaboration with the International Ranger Federation, Re:wild, Conservation Allies, and WWF Tigers Alive Initiative, these awards are intended to improve rangers’ capabilities, raise awareness about the critical role they play in conservation efforts, and help share rangers’ unique stories and perspectives.

Last year we recognised 10 exceptional rangers and ranger teams, selected from 133 nominations across 43 countries. Winners were from Zambia, Myanmar, Madagascar, Cambodia, Georgia, India, Columbia, Cote d’Ivoire, and Russia. An additional 19 rangers and teams were also recognised with special commendations for their contributions.

In this second year, a total of $170,000 of award funds have been allocated to recognise the incredible work of an additional 22 rangers or ranger teams who have dedicated their lives to protecting the planet, rehabilitating wildlife, and conserving wildlands.

Twelve winners will each receive $10,000 USD to support the work of their associated organisation. This year two of those awards will be given specifically to rangers working to save tigers in protected areas.

Ten further highly commented awardees will receive $5,000 USD to support their associated organisation.

All awardees will receive a unique uniform patch. Award funds can be used towards purchasing essential supplies or equipment, providing training, supporting the family of a deceased ranger, or other ranger welfare activities.

As this is the first truly inclusive award for rangers aimed at those across the globe, we aim to recognise rangers of all different backgrounds. Nominations are encouraged regardless of duties, gender, ethnicity, or geographic location.


Please check the following list to see if your nominee is eligible:

1. Nominations will be accepted from an IUCN Member organisation, an IRF member organisation, or a WCPA member. Self-nominations will not be accepted.

2. Nominees must be protected area rangers (individuals or teams) of a protected area registered with the World Database of Protected Areas. For these awards, our definition of a ranger is:

Any mandated person working at the site-level as a custodian of species, habitats, ecosystems, and cultural heritage. Rangers conserve terrestrial and marine protected and conserved areas. These areas may be state, regional, communal, indigenous, or privately managed, and in line with legal and institutional frameworks. Work may combine various roles, including:

  • conserving and restoring protected and conserved areas

  • maintaining area integrity and rule of law

  • developing and maintaining trusting and respectful relationships with communities and stakeholders

  • engaging and supporting local communities

  • addressing human-wildlife interactions

  • monitoring wildlife and habitats

  • assisting and supporting visitor activities

  • providing education and awareness

3. Team nominations should preferably be for distinct, identifiable teams or units whose members have together made specific achievements. Generic nominations for the entire ranger force of a large, protected area will not typically be considered.

4. Rangers who have been killed, seriously injured, or disabled during their work within the past 12 months are eligible for nomination.

5. Awards are open to all rangers based on the definition above. We encourage nominations that reflect the full diversity of rangers and their work around the world. We welcome nominations for female-identifying rangers, for rangers from Indigenous and Local Communities, for rangers from minority or disadvantaged groups.

6. All nominations must include details of a recognised organisation able to transparently receive, distribute, administer, and account for the award funds on behalf of the winners. Examples include IUCN member organisations, recognised ranger associations, and registered NGOs.

Selection Criteria

All nominations will be considered based on eligibility and award criteria. An initial review committee will identify and shortlist a subsection of nominations. Nominators of those on the short list may be contacted for further details. The shortlist will then be reviewed by a judging panel comprising representatives of the supporting organisations. Criteria include, but are not limited to:

  1. Exceptional personal commitment to a Protected Area.

  2. Exceptional valor, fortitude, or resilience in the face of serious threats to a Protected Area.

  3. Exceptional actions and impacts to safeguard a Protected Area.

How to nominate:

To nominate a ranger or team, please fill out the nomination form in English, French, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish.

Please note that all nominations must include details of a recognised organisation able to transparently receive, distribute, administer, and account for the award funds. Examples include a registered NGO, a recognised ranger association, or an IUCN member association.

If you have any questions regarding your nomination, please contact


Nominations are open from 30 November 2021 to 31 January 2022, after which no more applications will be accepted. Finalists will be announced at the end of March 2022.

Past Awards

The 2021 International Ranger Awards have been announced here!

Read the full citations of all the winners here.

Winners of the IUCN WCPA International Ranger Award will receive a unique uniform patch along with a US$10,000 for their associated organisation to support their work. This can include purchasing essential supplies or equipment, providing training, providing insurance, supporting the family of a deceased ranger, or other ranger welfare activities.

These new awards, instituted in 2020, complement the existing and ongoing range of awards offered to rangers around the world, including the The IRF/IUCN Young Conservationist Award, The IRF Lifetime Achievement Award, The Dr Jane Goodall Hope and Inspiration Ranger Award and The IRF President’s Award.

Catch up on the 2021 award ceremony here!

82 views0 comments
bottom of page