Felipe León, one of the park rangers of the Sierra San Pedro Martir National Park, in Baja California, Mexico, received the International Ranger Award, which recognizes the exceptional work of rangers in protected and conserved places around the world.
The International Ranger Award is granted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA).
This year the award ceremony took place in Kigali, Rwanda. More than 90 rangers from 45 countries were nominated and the 12 winners received funds to support their work in protected areas, as well as a certificate and a patch for their uniforms indicating the award.
“A park ranger is anyone who is dedicated to the conservation of nature, so we are all park rangers,” said Felipe León. “The situation of the park rangers in Mexico is no different from the rest of the world. When I received the news of the award I felt honored, and later I felt a sense of commitment and responsibility to continue working hand in hand with my fellow park rangers and brigades. We will continue to be committed to continue to work hard to achieve the dignity of our work in our region first”.
He explained that the funds received as part of the award will help to consolidate an organization that will guarantee the well-being, safety and professionalism of the park rangers.
“We are very proud that a park ranger from Baja California has been recognized internationally. Park rangers are a key piece in guaranteeing the protection of natural areas, it’s an arduous job that involves many risks, and unfortunately they do not always have the necessary resources and tools to do their job,” commented César Guerrero, Executive Director of Terra Peninsular, who nominated Felipe León for the award.
He explained that park rangers are the people in charge of management and conservation actions in protected natural areas. Some of their activities include preventing and controlling fires, as well as carrying out conservation and management actions, providing first aid, attending to visitors and participating in environmental education activities.
About Felipe León
Felipe Otoniel León Ángel is a Biologist graduated from the Faculty of Sciences of the UABC. Since 2012 he has been a park ranger in the Sierra San Pedro Martir National Park, member of the San Pedro Martir Forest Brigade, and Leave No Trace trainer.
He worked on the California Condor reintroduction project in Sierra San Pedro Martir and collaborated with the UABC in a sampling manual of species of hunting interest for the State Government.
As a park ranger, he is in charge of attending to environmental contingencies, surveillance within the protected area, fire prevention and control, with a strong environmental education component. He was part of the Mexican delegation at the 2016 World Ranger Congress in Colorado, USA. He has a diploma in photography and captures images to help in the dissemination and conservation of the national park.