Badass Dudes – Virunga National Park Rangers

If you were shot on the job, would you go back to work?

If death was a risk at a potential job, would you take their offer? I bet you’d reconsider your career choice.

What type of job would you be willing to die over?

The rangers at Virunga National Park face the risk of death on a daily basis. And risk is an understatement. I am talking third-world, constant chance of getting shot risk. Not falling off a roof type of risk.

Since 1994, 140 park rangers have died in the line of duty. Poachers, and rebel militias are a constant threat. Death is a risk that is omnipresent. In the face of danger, they remain because they are fighting for something much bigger than themselves.

Their purpose, love, and commitment far outweigh their fear.

We always say in life, those who risk nothing, have nothing. -Salange Kahambu, Virunga Park Ranger

Virunga National Park is located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. This park has faced much adversity over the years—poaching, civil war, and unwanted oil companies looking to profit from its natural resources. In recent years, poaching and the Congo Civil War have seriously damaged its wildlife population.

Around half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas live in Virunga and these dedicated park rangers are protecting the park and its inhabitants.

In April 2014, Emmanuel de Merode, chief warden of the park was ambushed and shot several times in the chest and abdomen. I have to point out that this guy is a Belgian prince.

Instead of living like a prince in Europe, he is protecting wildlife in third-world Congo.

Third. World. Congo.

“I ducked and tried to accelerate but the engine was damaged, so the car stopped. I had a rifle with me, so I took that, but just as I got out of the car, I was hit in the chest and stomach. I was able to get into the forest and fire back. Then I waited for about half an hour before moving back to the road, because I knew I had to get to the hospital as fast as possible.”

One month later, he was back to work.


How many of us would have quit?

A shooting at a movie will take place and we’ll avoid or fear the movies as a result. An airplane will crash and we will fear flying.

The park is now threatened by an oil company who is seeking to exploit the natural resources of the park.

Virunga has been a place surrounded by chaos: guerillas, blood-thirsty oil companies, coups, exploitation and European genocide.

But these badass motherfuckers show up to work every single day.

You must justify why you are on this earth. 

badass dudes virunga national park rangers 2Image courtesy of Indiewire

So let me ask you something.

Are you driven by purpose, love, and commitment? Or are you driven by fear?

Find out more about Virunga National Park.

And watch the documentary! It’s streaming on Netflix. You might reconsider your career choice when it’s done.

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