Source- NC State College of Natural Resources - NC State University
We often tend to confuse the roles of a Field Guide and Game (or Park) Ranger. Even though they have same knowledge but they operate differently as their functions do not match. Both guides and rangers are required to work together as custodians of the natural environment in the conservation and management of the wilderness areas around the world. We require a ‘guide’ while going for a safari or visiting field or nature while a ‘ranger’ is required in a game, park, wildlife or forest. Quite often, guides are mistakenly called rangers which is technically incorrect. It is common for guides to be called rangers, but this is technically incorrect.
Guide guests through nature by using vehicle, canoe and horseback or on his own foot. Guide explains general and specific features of nature or field along with the remarkable secrets hidden within the natural environment. S/he acts as a link between the guests (who are either visitors or tourists) and nature. Guides are considered to be playing crucial roles in conservation as they spread the message far and wide regarding flora and fauna to a number of people they meet.
Rangers (be it park or forest rangers), unlike guides, don’t deal with guests. They deal more with the conservation management of wilderness areas. Rangers are generally responsible for veterinary aspects of the wildlife, population control and breeding capabilities. This is how rangers are busy with more hands-on issues such as fencing, fire control, road maintenance and invasion of alien plants.
No doubt, the various roles of guides and rangers overlap with each other. But, the approach of treating their job is different. Guides are directly involved with guests whereas rangers are directly attached with conservation and preservation of flora and fauna. Game rangers duties included things such as maintenance of park fences, maintenance of roads and water drainage, water reticulation, bush clearing, and making and maintaining of fire breaks, as well as animal management and much more. Today, game rangers are managed by a warden or reserve/conservation manager, whereas field guides are managed either by a head guide or lodge manager.