IUCN WCPA International Ranger Awards

Developed through a collaboration between the IUCN WCPA, IUCN-US, the International Ranger Federation, Re:wild, and Conservation Allies, these awards, created in 2020, aim to highlight and felicitate the extraordinary work that rangers do in protected and conserved areas worldwide.

Please find the RussianPortuguese and Arabic announcement versions.

We are pleased to let you know that the nominations for the IUCN WCPA International Ranger Awards will be open from the 15 February to 15 April 2023, after which no more applications will be accepted.

Winners will be announced at the end of June 2023.

The 3rd Annual International Ranger Award will recognize the remarkable work of rangers in protected areas around the world.

Hosted by the IUCN and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, in collaboration with the International Ranger Federation, Re:wild, Conservation Allies, Universal Ranger Support Alliance, IUCN US and WWF Tigers Alive Initiative, these awards are intended to improve rangers’ capabilities, raise awareness about the critical role they play in conservation efforts, and help share rangers’ unique stories and perspectives.

Last year we recognized 12 exceptional rangers and ranger teams, selected from 97 nominations across 35 countries. Winners were from Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, DRC, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Uganda, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

In the third year, a total of $120,000 of award funds have been allocated to recognize the incredible work of 9 rangers or ranger teams who have dedicated their lives to protecting the planet, rehabilitating wildlife, and conserving wildlands.

Winners will receive awards of $25,000, $20,000, $15,000, and four of $10,000 to support the work of their associated organization. Two additional awards of $10,000 each will be given specifically to rangers working to save tigers in protected areas.

All awardees will receive a unique uniform patch. Award funds can be used towards purchasing essential supplies or equipment, providing training, supporting the family of a deceased ranger, or other ranger welfare activities.

The International Ranger Award aims to recognize all types of rangers including Indigenous, community, and volunteer rangers as well as those employed in protected and conserved areas. Nominations are encouraged regardless of duties, gender, ethnicity, or geographic location.


Please check the following list to see if your nominee is eligible:

  1. Nominations will only be accepted from an IUCN Member organization, an IRF member organization, or a WCPA member. Self-nominations will not be accepted.
  2. Nominees must operate in a Protected Area or OECM (Other Effective Conservation Measures) registered in the World Database of Protected Areas or the World Database of OECMs. See protectedplanet.net.
  3. Nominators can only nominate either an individual ranger or a team from a site. Nominators cannot nominate make more than two nominations (must be from separate sites).
  4. Team nominations (maximum 10 individuals) should be for distinct, identifiable teams or units whose members have together made specific achievements. Generic nominations for the entire ranger force of a large, protected area will not typically be considered.
  5. Rangers who have been killed, seriously injured, or disabled during their work within the past 12 months are eligible for nomination.
  6. Awards are open to all rangers based on the definition below. We encourage nominations that reflect the full diversity of rangers and their work around the world. We welcome nominations for female-identifying rangers, for rangers from Indigenous and Local Communities, and for rangers from minority or disadvantaged groups.
  7. All nominations must include details of a recognized organization able to transparently receive, distribute, administer, and account for the award funds on behalf of the winners (for example: IUCN member organizations, recognized ranger associations, and registered NGOs).

Selection Criteria

All nominations will be considered based on eligibility and award criteria. An initial review committee will identify and shortlist a subsection of nominations. Nominators of those on the short list may be contacted for further details. The shortlist will then be reviewed by a judging panel comprising representatives of the supporting organizations.

Criteria include (see the box below for explanation):​

  1. Exceptional personal commitment to a Protected Area or OECM.
  2. Exceptional valor, fortitude, or resilience in the face of serious threats to a Protected Area or OECM.
  3. Exceptional actions and impacts to safeguard a Protected Area or OECM.

Nominations should clearly explain how the nominee(s) have gone above and beyond in their normal duties. Quality nominations increase chances of a ranger or team to be selected. They include thorough but succinct responses to all questions in section four of the application. Evidence should include specific actions, locations/site/area, individuals, teams/communities/ or species involved and ways such actions were exceptional.

How to nominate:

To nominate a ranger or team, please fill out the nomination form in EnglishFrenchSpanishRussianPortuguese, or Arabic.

Please note that all nominations must include details of a recognized organization able to transparently receive, distribute, administer, and account for the award funds. Examples include a registered NGO, a recognized ranger association, or an IUCN member association.

If you have any questions regarding your nomination, please contact WCPA International Ranger Awards.


Nominations are open from 15 February to 15 April 2023, after which no more applications will be accepted. Winners will be announced at the end of June 2023.

Past Awards

The 2022 International Ranger Awards have been announced here!

Read the full citations of all the winners here.

Winners of the IUCN WCPA International Ranger Award will receive a unique uniform patch along with a US$10,000 for their associated organisation to support their work. This can include purchasing essential supplies or equipment, providing training, providing insurance, supporting the family of a deceased ranger, or other ranger welfare activities.

These new awards, instituted in 2020, complement the existing and ongoing range of awards offered to rangers around the world, including the The IRF/IUCN Young Conservationist Award, The IRF Lifetime Achievement Award, The Dr Jane Goodall Hope and Inspiration Ranger Award and The IRF President’s Award.

Catch up on the 2022 award ceremony here!

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