LeBron’s Cavs, Durant-led Warriors favored as season begins

first_imgOAKLAND, CA – JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts to a play in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFPLeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will celebrate their city’s first sports crown in 52 years on Tuesday, raising their championship banner as the 2016-17 NBA campaign opens.The Golden State Warriors, meanwhile, will welcome superstar forward Kevin Durant to the fold as they set out to avenge their loss to Cleveland in last June’s NBA Finals after coming one game shy of back-to-back titles.ADVERTISEMENT The Cavaliers and Warriors open the season as favorites to play each other in the finals for the third campaign in a row, an unprecedented feat, even as 28 rivals try to fight their way into next June’s title showdown.Chris Paul and Blake Griffin spark the Los Angeles Clippers while LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard join guard Tony Parker and big man Pau Gasol to ignite San Antonio.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra teammates show love for SlaughterSPORTSWe are youngSPORTSCone plans to speak with Slaughter, agentDwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo unite in Chicago, Toronto will try to improve on its run to the last four last season and Russell Westbrook will try to lift Oklahoma City after Durant’s departure.But the Warriors and Cavaliers have made themselves the teams to beat based on their past two seasons of success, Golden State with a record 73 wins last season and the Cavaliers making the best NBA Finals rally ever by winning the last three games. EDITORS’ PICK BREAKING: Solicitor General asks SC to forfeit ABS CBN’s franchise Mainland China virus cases exceed 40,000; deaths rise to 908 PBA hopefuls will be put to test in 2016 Draft Combine 30 Filipinos from Wuhan quarantined in Capas Smart hosts first 5G-powered esports exhibition match in PH Team ‘Trabaho’ scores championship title at the last leg of Smart Siklab Saya Manila Ginebra teammates show love for Slaughter “Our mindset going into this year is knowing that the hunter has now become the hunted,” Cavaliers forward Kevin Love said. “So we have to approach every game a lot like the last two years, knowing we’re going to get everybody’s best shot.”James averaged 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.3 blocked shots and 2.6 steals a game, leading the NBA Finals in each category to earn unanimous NBA Finals MVP honors.“We’re not satisfied with just winning one championship. We’re not satisfied with just being successful. We want to continue to get better,” James said.James 3-4 in NBA FinalsJames has played in seven NBA Finals and the past six in a row. He lost his first with Cleveland then split four with the Miami Heat. Upon returning to Cleveland he lost one more before the Cavaliers captured their first to give Cleveland a first sporting title in 52 years.ADVERTISEMENT BREAKING: Solicitor General asks SC to forfeit ABS CBN’s franchise “I came back to bring a championship to our city,” James said. “I knew what I was capable of doing. I knew I had the right ingredients and the right blueprint to help this franchise get to a place that we’ve never been. That’s what it was all about.”On Tuesday, four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James will begin the quest to repeat as the Cavaliers open against the New York Knicks.“It will not be easy, and it shouldn’t be easy,” James said. “In my 13-year career, so far nothing has been easy. So I look forward to the journey and the work that lies ahead.”Other opening night games find Utah at Portland and San Antonio at Golden State, who added 2014 NBA MVP Durant after coming up short in the playoffs.Stephen Curry, the 2015 and 2016 NBA MVP, and fellow 3-point sharpshooter Klay Thompson will have Durant, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala up front.Cavs spend king’s ransomWith the Cavaliers making a deal earlier this month to keep guard J.R. Smith, owner Dan Gilbert will spend a king’s ransom of about $100 million — $6 million above the NBA salary cap — on the Cleveland starting five of James, Smith, Love, Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson.Gilbert, who spent $54 million in luxury tax for going over the salary cap, will spend more for the starters than about half of the league’s teams will spend on entire rosters. Even Golden State with Durant will only have a payroll at about 75 percent of the Cavaliers.Australia’s Andrew Bogut was sent from the Warriors to Dallas and several top reserves were released to make salary room for Durant.Other clubs have made moves to try and join the elite. Atlanta signed veteran center Dwight Howard. Wade and Rondo moved to Chicago but the Bulls lost Gasol to the Spurs and Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose to the Knicks. MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. 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‘Next year’ finally arrives for joyous Chicago Cubs fans

first_img“To finally see this in my lifetime with my son here with us, it means everything,” Craig Likhite said. “This game with all the ups and downs showed him exactly what it is to be a Cubs fan.”“My dad passed away this year. He would have loved this,” said Likhite, 50.Judy Pareti flew in from New York City to watch the game at Murphy’s Bleachers, a neighborhood sports bar in a building where her grandfather lived and where his hot dog stand was located. “My dad and grandfather owned it, and I was born here,” she said. “I would never want to be anywhere but here for this.”Liz Wolfe, a 36-year-old physical therapist, said, “People always said if the Cubs win the World Series it would be like hell freezing over. I’m still in shock. This is the most exciting thing in my life.”Long-time Cubs fan Bob Newhart, who grew up in the Chicago area, tweeted his congratulations to the team. “The billy goat is dead!! As I’ve said, from the beginning, I’m getting too old for this!,” the 87-year-old comedian wrote, alluding to one of the oldest alleged curses on the team.The 8-7 extra-inning victory over the Indians at Progressive Field in Cleveland came after the emptiness and bitterness of years past when the Cubs found spectacular and sometimes downright strange ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.Every Cubs fan knows those stories, starting with the 1969 team loaded with Hall of Famers that amassed a 9 1/2-game lead in mid-August before they started losing game after game in such numbers that the Miracle Mets not only caught them but ended up winning the National League East by 8 games.Then came 1984. After taking the first two games of the National League Divisional Series against the Padres at Wrigley, the Cubs needed just one win in San Diego to advance to the NLCS. They were swept in three games on the West Coast.There were other playoff losses but none as painful as in 2003 when in a where-were-you-when-it-happened moment that Cubs fans still have trouble comprehending, Steve Bartman deflected a ball that seemed destined for Moises Alou’s glove with the Cubs just five outs from reaching the World Series.Fans watched in horror as the Cubs fell apart, and few who left the park that night believed the team would win game seven the next night. They didn’t. Where did they go? Millions left Wuhan before quarantine “This was torture,” said Mike Delmanowski, a lifelong Cubs fan who flew to Chicago from California just to be surrounded by other Cubs fans. “I would not have missed it for anything.“I am so proud to be a part of it,” said his wife, Sue, who was crying off and on from the fifth inning.Mike Dillon said all he could think about was his father, who died without ever seeing what Dillon witnessed.“I came here by myself, but I’m not alone at all,” said Mike Dillon, 57, of Joliet.Craig and April Likhite drove to Chicago from Evanston with their 10-year-old son, Cade, because they wanted to see history made with other fans as close to Wrigley Field as possible.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. We are young As the game ended, the roar from inside the bars and the throng of fans on the street was deafening, before the crowds both inside and out sang “go Cubs go” at the top of their lungs.As the celebration progressed, thousands of fans poured into the streets leading away from Wrigley, many of them singing “We Are The Champions.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra teammates show love for SlaughterSPORTSWe are youngSPORTSCone plans to speak with Slaughter, agentFans hugged each other, many of them crying. They took each other’s picture and pictures of themselves, and took turns writing their names and words of congratulations in chalk on Wrigley’s brick walls. Some got on friends’ shoulders to find spots high up on the walls that were not yet covered with names of fans.An hour after the game ended there were still thousands of people in the ballpark neighborhood, known as Wrigleyville, and there were still fireworks exploding every few minutes. MOST READ Chicago Cubs fans celebrate in front of Wrigley Field in Chicago on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, after the Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in Game 7 of the baseball World Series in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)CHICAGO — Next year is here.At exactly 11:47 p.m. local time, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series that has eluded them for 108 years. Fans who packed bars to watch the games on television near Wrigley Field — neither of which existed back in 1908 — erupted in cheers before swarming onto the streets just before midnight Wednesday to celebrate in the shadows of the statues of Cubs greats Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo and legendary announcer Harry Caray.ADVERTISEMENT 30 Filipinos from Wuhan quarantined in Capas PH among economies most vulnerable to virus Brad Pitt wins his first acting Oscar as awards get underway Smart’s Siklab Saya: A multi-city approach to esports But that was all in the past as Cubs fans throughout Chicago celebrated into the early hours of Thursday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next BREAKING: Solicitor General asks SC to forfeit ABS CBN’s franchise Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town Murray must play better if he wants Djokovic’s No. 1 ranking EDITORS’ PICK Smart hosts first 5G-powered esports exhibition match in PH Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan PLAY LIST 01:31Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan01:33WHO: ‘Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient’01:01WHO: now 31,211 virus cases in China 102:02Vitamin C prevents but doesn’t cure diseases like coronavirus—medic03:07’HINDI PANG-SPORTS LANG!’03:03SILIP SA INTEL FUND Mainland China virus cases exceed 40,000; deaths rise to 908 View commentslast_img read more

To rescue Sumatran rhinos, Indonesia starts by counting them first

first_imgIn February, authorities in Indonesia held an exercise for Sumatran rhino researchers to track and tally the remaining wild population of the species.The government aims to finalize an official count of the critically endangered rhino within three years, according to the environment ministry.Natural breeding for the rhinos has been particularly difficult as the remaining individuals live in fragmented lowland forests away from each other. On top of that, rhinos are slow breeders and the females have a short fertility period.Estimates of the current size of the wild Sumatran rhino population range from 30 to 100 individuals. Another nine live in captivity in Indonesia and Malaysia. LAMPUNG, Indonesia — Indonesian rhino researcher Budiono recorded every sign of living animals in Sumatra’s Way Kambas National Park: from mud pits and footprints, to scratches on tree trunks and half-eaten leaves on the ground. Each of these might point to an elusive creature: the Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis).“We want definitive clues that point us to where the Sumatran rhinos are,” said Budiono, a member of the Rhino Protection Unit with the Indonesian Rhino Foundation (YABI).Budiono was one of 34 people taking part in the painstaking search for signs of the critically endangered animals in known rhino habitats within this park, one of the species’ last strongholds. The five-day program took place in February, a collaboration between the park agency, Indonesia’s environment ministry, YABI, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).The exercise was part of a bid to obtain more comprehensive information on the size of the rhino population on Sumatra, home to the majority of the surviving members of this nearly extinct species, said Indra Eksploitasia, the environment ministry’s director of biodiversity conservation.Harapan, a male rhino born in the U.S., is cared for at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park. Image by Muhammad Adimaja.Indonesia is the last place on Earth where wild Sumatran rhinos still roam. In addition to those on the eponymous island, a small population is believed to survive in Indonesian Borneo. Estimates of the current size of the wild rhino population range from 30 to 100 individuals. (Another nine live in captivity in Indonesia and Malaysia.)Historically, these last remnants of Dicerorhinus, the most primitive rhino genus, have been threatened by habitat loss, climate-induced habitat fragmentation, and poaching. Today, with the remaining wild rhinos fragmented into small, isolated populations, researchers fear more of the animals are dying of natural causes than are being born.“How many of them exactly are in the wild now, we still don’t know for sure,” Indra said. “We hear it’s declining, but by how much? That’s one of the things we’re working on to have the actual data.”The rhino monitoring exercise in Way Kambas, in the province of Lampung, was also designed to prepare participants to conduct independent censuses in other rhino habitats, such as in northern Sumatra’s Aceh province and Borneo’s East Kalimantan province.“This is part of the government’s efforts to rescue the Sumatran rhinos,” Indra said.The government aims to finalize an official wild rhino count within three years, according to the environment ministry. To allow the rhinos to properly breed, the government estimates that every subpopulation must hold at least 15 individuals. Populations that are too small to breed will be relocated and combined into larger groups.“The focus right now is to rescue the rhinos,” Indra said.A Sumatran rhino with her calf in Way Kambas, Sumatra, Indonesia. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.Slow breedersNatural breeding for the rhinos has been particularly difficult as the remaining individuals live in fragmented lowland forests away from each other. On top of that, rhinos are slow breeders, and the females have a short fertility period.“In some subpopulations, encounters between rhinos are so rare that it’s so difficult for them to mate,” said Widodo Ramono, the executive director of YABI.At the Way Kambas sanctuary, a female rhino known affectionately as Bina has reached an age where her eggs are no longer viable to be collected for in vitro fertilization, Widodo said. Another female, called Rosa, has mated at least four times, without a successful pregnancy. According to Widodo, Rosa did conceive after mating with Andalas, one of the two male rhinos at the sanctuary, but the pregnancy lasted only a month and caused her to suffer from a uterine tumor.“The government must take urgent action for the rhinos,” Widodo said. “Otherwise the wild rhinos will slowly die, and the females will get tumors.”But it isn’t all gloom and doom for the Sumatran rhinos in Way Kambas National Park, said Subakir, the head of the park agency. He said his team recently found what they believe to be the footprints of a female rhino and her calf — signs that at least some of the park’s rhinos are successfully breeding.“[The discovery] was about three months ago when our team was patrolling,” Subakir said.For the park, that’s enough reason to beef up protection from the dangers of poaching, encroachment and deforestation, he said.“I hope that Way Kambas can be the poster child for good conservation in Lampung,” Subakir said.Read Mongabay’s history of the Sumatran rhino breeding program, from 1984 to the present, here.Banner image is of a female rhino in Way Kambas National Park courtesy of the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary.This article was first published on our Indonesian site on Feb. 27, 2019. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Critically Endangered Species, Environment, Ex-situ Conservation, Extinction, Mammals, Megafauna, Poaching, Rainforest Animals, Rhinos, Saving Species From Extinction, Sumatran Rhino, Wildlife Article published by Basten Gokkonlast_img read more

Why more women should be included in the leadership of Virunga National Park (commentary)

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Since 2014, the number of female park guards serving in Virunga National Park, located in war-ridden eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been gradually increasing. Today, 29 women serve in the ranks of this 731-strong force.There has been a flurry of international media attention to the women who chose the ranger profession. But so far, nobody has looked at how the presence of these women affects the functioning of the ranger force, and the relations between the park and the population living in its vicinity.While gender equality is not a guarantee for improving park-people relations, we believe the integration of women in Virunga’s administrative and security structures needs to be reinforced, in particular at the higher echelons. Gender equality is not only of inherent importance, but — as our research indicates — also corresponds to a strong demand among the population living around the park.This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. Since 2014, the number of female park guards serving in Virunga National Park, located in war-ridden eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been gradually increasing. Today, 29 women serve in the ranks of this 731-strong force.There has been a flurry of international media attention to the women who chose the ranger profession. News reporting generally zooms in on their heroic nature, the dangers and hardships they face, and the para-military ranger training they passed, which requires extreme physical fitness. So far, nobody has looked at how the presence of these women affects the functioning of the ranger force, and the relations between the park and the population living in its vicinity.In the wake of the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security, there has been a flurry of scholarly and policy attention to integrating women into law enforcement and (para)military organizations. Female uniformed personnel are held to be more attentive to the needs of women and children and are believed to be easier to approach by civilians, in particular women. This would improve relations between security forces and local populations.However, a growing body of research shows that these assumptions are based on essentialist views of women, and do not always hold, especially not when patriarchal organizational cultures are not changed.Similarly, research we recently conducted in the Virunga area demonstrates that integrating women into the ranger force is not a panacea for resolving the deep running tensions between the park and the population. While the presence of female rangers is generally welcomed, few people we interviewed believe that they make a difference for the conflicts pitting them against the park. What’s more, reflecting deep-seated gender problems within nature conservation, women continue to be under-represented at higher levels of decision-making in the ranger force and Virunga’s management.While gender equality is not a guarantee for improving park-people relations, we believe the integration of women in Virunga’s administrative and security structures needs to be reinforced, in particular at the higher echelons. Gender equality is not only of inherent importance, but — as our research indicates — also corresponds to a strong demand among the population living around the park.We base our argument on focus groups conducted in January 2019 with men, women, and youth — the majority of whom were farmers — in 11 villages located in the territories of Rutshuru and Nyiragongo. Focus groups were complemented by interviews with key informants, including local chiefs, civil society actors, and a park representative. In total we contacted 303 persons.From our research, it emerged that few people have actually interacted with female park guards. The majority of the female rangers are deployed to escort tourists and guard installations, and remain at the level of the park headquarters in Rumangabo, or at the sub-station of the central sector in Rwindi. Only a few are deployed to patrol posts in remote areas, and therefore enter into contact with the population. Locals’ ideas about female park guards therefore mostly rest on perceptions, rather than experiences.Local perceptions of female park guardsIn the focus groups, men and women alike talked about the integration of women into Virunga’s ranger force as something positive. The ideas that people articulated around female park guards roughly correspond to two discourses that are often invoked to justify women’s inclusion: the first is an instrumentalist discourse, which highlights that integrating women will improve performance, effectiveness, or outcomes; the second is a rights-based discourse, which emphasizes that women have an inherent right to equal representation, regardless of whether that would improve the performance of an institution.Following an instrumentalist discourse, many of our interlocutors believed that having women in the ranger force would reduce the chances of ill or harsh behavior by rangers towards civilians, in particular women. Women often enter the park to cultivate crops such as manioc or maize, or to collect firewood (kuni) or sticks to support bean plants (mitegemeo). This exposes them to the risk of being intercepted by park guards. During some focus groups, women said that those who are intercepted are subjected to harsh treatment, including beatings. While we cannot substantiate cases of rape by park guards, in a few villages in Nyiragongo territory, where relations with the park are particularly bad, women believed that the guards sometimes also engage in sexual violence.A female ranger in Virunga National Park. Photo Credit: Joseph Tsongo.Female guards, many people thought, would never tolerate such behavior. As a woman in Mujoga said: “We would like the number of female park guards to increase, as they can never accept that another woman is forced to undress.” A woman in Katwa confirmed this idea: “If there were more female park guards, there will be less rape.” Furthermore, many of the women we interviewed believed that female rangers would be more lenient in general. In the words of one focus group participant in Mujoga: “Women have roho na huruma [literally: a soul full of pity]. They could more easily accept that a woman enters the park to collect sticks.”The rights-based discourse, which was shared equally strongly by men and women, was mostly reflected in remarks that women should be rangers as there is now parité (gender equality) in Congo, and women should therefore be equally represented in all state services. A man in Vitshumbi commented: “Women should be in the ranger force as there is parité according to the constitution.” The rights-based discourse was also strongly articulated by customary chiefs, commonly associated with conservative views about gender inequality. For instance, the village chief of Nyamilima said: “Women now have the right to do this work, they are also capable and there are also women in the military and police.”While the majority of our interlocutors welcome female park guards, a few expressed their doubts, in particular whether female park guards actually behave better towards civilians. A woman in Nyamilima commented: “They have no mercy neither for men nor for women.” Similarly, in Mujoga, a youngster said: “Women are more evil than men, they are more dangerous.”Concerns about female guards often appeared grounded in people’s experiences with or perceptions of female military personnel or female rebel soldiers. As research on Congolese female army personnel shows, these women are often considered to be of low standing and low morals, being cruel and mean, in particular towards other women. One woman in Kiwanja commented in relation to Chantal, an infamous commander of a Rwandan rebel group: “Women are meaner than men. Therefore the conflicts will not diminish. Chantal, she could even throw a child in front of a car without any pity.”No silver bullet for resolving conflictsThe idea that women can be crueler than men makes people doubt that female park guards can help resolve the many conflicts between park rangers and the local population. These conflicts center on contested park boundaries, the right to enter the park to collect firewood or sticks, and disputes over wild animals destroying people’s harvests, among other issues.To many of our interlocutors, it remains unclear how female guards can make a difference in these conflicts. As a woman in Nyamilima argued: “The conflict is around the park boundaries, for that it does not matter whether the park guards are men or women.” Men in Vitshumbi emphasized that the lack of impact was compounded by female rangers’ low status: “Biko chini [they are low in the hierarchy]… not decision-makers. Maybe when they also take the decisions.”Indeed, it was generally believed that female guards, given their low ranks, had little influence on decision-making. In Katwa, a woman said: “Even if there were women, they would obey the orders given, also to beat us, so there would be no difference in behavior.” Another often-expressed concern was that women working in the same organization have the same ideology as men. For a man in Nyamilima: “Having women as park guards cannot diminish conflicts. The problem is the ideology. When the ideology is bad, there won’t be any change.”Working towards gender equality in conservation leadershipMirroring a growing body of research on integrating women in security forces, our findings show that we should be cautious about the positive effects of integrating women in Virunga’s ranger force — in particular as long as organizational cultures do not change, and women are not equally represented within the higher ranks. Moreover, we should avoid essentializing discourses about women as inherently more peaceful or more lenient.A key finding of our research is that many people in the Virunga area believe that having women in the ranger force is a right — regardless of how it affects rangers’ work. Yet we concur with our interlocutors that women should also be represented in the higher ranks, as well as the park’s management structure.There is a notorious lack of female leadership in nature conservation, which has historically been imbued with patriarchal values. Donors supporting nature conservation should urgently acknowledge and address this gender problem — not least as women generally represent half of the population of conservation-affected areas.CITATIONS• Baaz, M. E., & Stern, M. (2011). Whores, men, and other misfits: Undoing ‘feminization’in the armed forces in the DRC. African affairs, 110(441), 563-585. doi:10.1093/afraf/adr044• Jones, M. S., & Solomon, J. (2019). Challenges and supports for women conservation leaders. Conservation Science and Practice, e36. doi:10.1111/csp2.36• Wilén, N., & Heinecken, L. (2018). Regendering the South African army: Inclusion, reversal and displacement. Gender, Work & Organization, 25(6), 670-686. doi:10.1111/gwao.12257Disclaimer: The research conducted for this article was supported by the Knowledge Management Fund of the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law.Dr. Judith Verweijen is a Lecturer in International Security at the University of Sussex. Judith’s research is situated at the intersection of political ecology and conflict studies. It examines the interplay between violence, conflict and armed mobilization around natural resources. She focuses on eastern DRC, where she has conducted extensive field research since 2010.Janvier Murairi Bakihanaye is the President of the Association for the Development of Farmers’ Initiatives (ASSODIP) based in Goma, in eastern DRC. He has worked for over a decade on human rights issues related to the exploitation of natural resources, anti-slavery and prisoners’ rights, both as activist and researcher. Most recently, his work has focused on roadblocks and socio-economic conditions in mining sites and conservation areas. For his work on Anti-Slavery, Janvier was awarded the Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty Award 2016.Dr. Esther Marijnen is a postdoctoral researcher at the Conflict Research Group (University of Ghent) and is affiliated with the Center for Public Authority and International Development (CPAID) based at London School of Economics (LSE). Her research focuses on violent conflict, nature conservation and public authority from a political ecology perspective. Currently she is working on the specificities of nature-society relations in times of war. Esther has conducted fieldwork in eastern DRC since 2013.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. 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