On July 31, 2013, Thailand commemorated World Ranger Day in Pangsida National Park at Sa Kaew Province. The event paid tribute to fallen and injured rangers in the line of duty, and celebrated the work of rangers in protecting the world's natural treasures and resources.
Mr. Vichet Kasemthongsri, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, along with Udom Graiwattnuson, Secretary General of the Ministry of National Resources and Environment, attended the ceremony. The event was put on and sponsored by The World Heritage Site, DNP, Freeland Foundation and IUCN, which was the first World Ranger Day event held in Thailand. The attendees included rangers, students and civilians from the local community.
Mr. Vichet expressed the importance of the ranger's duties in protecting and preserving the natural resources and environment. In the past 10 years, there have been 1,000 rangers who have lost their lives on the line of duty. This past year, there were 83 casualties and 49 injuries collectively around the world. A recent significant case involved the forest rangers in the area of Dong Phaya Yen, Khao Yai district, where 3 rangers lost their lives and 4 others were wounded.
Thai rangers are set out to protect 73 million hectares, however, the funds to support that capacity is very limited. A rising issue of illegal logging of rosewood creates a greater risk for the rangers trying to protect the natural environment. Mr. Vichet promised to establish a welfare fund for fallen and wounded rangers, along with support for their family members.