One of the most common comments I get from those that have read my book, "A Park Ranger's Life," is that they are surprised how dangerous a ranger's job can be. Although I have to admit facing a few potentially hair raising adventures during my career they do not come close in comparison to the dangers faced by Park Rangers in other parts of the world.
According to the Game Rangers Association of Africa 60 Park Rangers world wide have been killed in the line of duty this past year. Most of these deaths occurred in Africa where it is like a war zone attempting to protect large game animals.
Elephants are still killed for their ivory and rumors of rhinoceros horn being a cure for cancer is resulting in the slaughter of these animals. There is so much money available through international markets that the impoverished people of the African Continent find that risking their lives is worth the risk for the pay day. A result is that they have no reservations about killing others to illegally take wildlife.
You can add years of war in certain regions of the continent and the related availability of military grade small arms resulting in heavily armed poachers going up against lighter armed and in most cases outnumbered and under trained park rangers. A poacher who is desperate is quick to make the decision to kill to escape with their prize.
You can learn more about this situation at the National Geographic Daily News website.