The Ranger, a concept which began in South Africa, essentially connects guests to nature and the wilderness through a narrative driven interpretation. This basically means that Rangers package information in a way that is compelling and interesting to guests. A Ranger will go beyond just pointing out an animal, and explain the habitat, territory and other traits of the species, making the trip to the park both enjoyable and informative. Rangers can also take travellers on 4×4 adventures, and are required to make sure that guests are safe and prepared for any encounters in the wild.
Jobs in the hotel and tourism sector are structured, but when it comes to niche segments such as Rangers, it is less so. Their job roles may intertwine with those of naturalists and tour guides.
Junior Ranger – At a junior level a Ranger will have a basic knowledge of common birds, amphibians and mammals. He or she will be able to describe basic behavioral traits, and accompany groups together with a more senior colleague.
Ranger – At this level, the Ranger will be able to tell guests about a bird’s migratory patterns, share details about the special density of leopards, and will be able to expend more information on the animals and flora that make up the park. They will also be able to answer questions about animal behaviour and share specific stories about the animal species guests encounter on safari.
Senior Ranger – The Senior Ranger is involved in more managerial tasks. He or she is tasked with assigning the right ranger to the right guest, managing sensitive or demanding guests, troubleshooting issues, as well as creating development goals for the team of Rangers.
As this industry is still in its development stage in Sri Lanka, it is difficult to give exact timelines for progression. A trainee Ranger may take anywhere between 12 to 18 months to progress to a higher level. As this is a job driven by passion and interest rather than by job positions, there is generally no rush to move from one level to another. Furthermore, career progression is not linear, and an experienced Ranger may even manage a team at a small lodge or go on to undertake a training position.
Knowledge and Skills
A Bachelor’s Degree in natural sciences will get you an interview for a Junior Ranger position. There are instances where individuals from the tourism sector have moved into the job of a Ranger with no academic background, but with considerable experience and interest in the field. However, an undergraduate degree, NVQ certification in natural sciences or conservation will be useful in entering this industry.
- Effective communication
- English speaking skills
- Service mindset, because you are a host and guide
- Customer centric
- Be a decision maker
- Passion for learning
- Passion for nature and conservation
- Photography skills
If you are part of a Ranger training program, there is a high probability that you will be offered a job by a Safari Lodge at the conclusion of the program, based on your performance and growth. You can also apply to properties that employ Rangers, or even partner with someone to set up a business of your own. Your performance will be judged on your level of knowledge, your ability to share that knowledge in an interesting and exciting manner, your ability to handle high pressure situations and interact with guests in a personable manner.
The salary scale varies across properties. The take home salary for a Ranger can range from Rs. 30,000 to 100,000.