Ranger Jo helping to fight poaching

ELEPHANT CUDDLE: Girraween National Park ranger Jolene McLellan had the opportunity to get up close to baby elephant Kithaka while she was in Africa recently. Photo Contributed
ELEPHANT CUDDLE: Girraween National Park ranger Jolene McLellan had the opportunity to get up close to baby elephant Kithaka while she was in Africa recently. Photo Contributed Contributed

WHEN Jolene McLellan visited Tanzania as a representative of the Queensland Rangers Association she took the opportunity to contribute to several different causes.

Ms McLellan was one of 250 delegates to attend the International Rangers Conference and said there were presentations which she found inspiring for her own work at Girraween National Park.

"The conference theme was Healthy Parks Healthy People so it was about ways to manage the parks and wildlife," Ms McLellan said.

"There were a lot of poaching issues. The need to come up with ways to stop poaching is crucial because the ivory trade is booming. Poaching is as bad as it was in the 1980s.

"What also became obvious is the rangers need more support because some of them put their lives on the line. We lose rangers in the line of duty every year."

During her three weeks in Africa she made sure she was able to visit and provide assistance to causes which were close to her heart.

"I handed some funds to the Tanzania rangers after five homes were burnt by poachers and a husband and wife team were killed while working."

"It was pretty emotional and the money will help their children. I also gave some funding to the School of St Jude's which was established by a Guyra woman."

While the rangers and school were important, Ms McLellan said the personal highlight of her whole trip had been the opportunity to visit and contribute to the Sheldrick's Elephant Orphanage.

"At the elephant orphanage in Nairobi they rescue and care for orphaned elephants then release them into the wild."

"We got to meet the elephants out in the wild and it was the highlight of my three weeks."

Ms McLellan said she owed a debt of gratitude to the Granite Belt community who had helped to make her trip possible.

"I always knew how lucky we are here in Australia but there is nothing like visiting a Third World country to make you really appreciate it," she said.

"I'd like to thank everyone who made it possible for me to go."

Topics:  africa elephants poachers ranger

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