There are many unnamed park rangers scattered all over Europe with the passion and strong belief that protection of Wilderness is one of the most important objectives of conservation. They consider it not just as their regular work but as their life mission.
One of them is Mr. Vano Kupradze, who dedicated a significant part of his life to Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, Georgia. He was involved daily in the protection of nature and Wilderness in the Park. Just recently we received the sad news: Vano Kupradze tragically died fighting against wildfire in the National Park.
Please read: Supporting Rangers In The Wilderness
His colleagues from Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park have put together a short text to remember his heroism, commitment and infectious enthusiasm:
Vano Kupradze was a young boy when he came to Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. This was the time the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park began operating in 2001 and management experience of the first National Park in Caucasus, Georgia had just started.
From the very beginning of the Georgian National Park Foundation he has dedicated his whole career and finally life to his job.
Protected areas management and Wilderness conservation in Georgia is facing many challenges, particularly in the last decades, and Vano was counted one of the front line people. During his career he experienced various barriers in his nature conservation work.
For example, in his position he was exposed on a daily basis to many illegal activities inside protected area such as poaching or illegal logging. He was managing more than 70 rangers when he tragically died in the National Park fighting against wildfire.
Vano’s example shows the difficulties and challenges of nature and Wilderness protection. He fought tirelessly to save natural and Wilderness heritage for future generations, training dedicated young rangers every year, and advocating for better law enforcement in nature conservation.
In his 17 years of working for Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park he significantly contributed to the development of modern Protected Area management in Georgia. He become well-known due to his commitment and strength in fighting for his ideals. Vano’s legacy will exist for a long time as an important example for future conservationists of Georgia.
Vano was always saying that the demand to protect nature comes from the behaviour of people and that:
It is impossible to be a bad person if you love nature!
I met Mr. Vano Kupradze, park manager in the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, Georgia for the first time in 2004. That was at a meeting where this protected area expressed interest to become a member of a European-wide family of protected areas focusing on Wilderness protection.
He was a knowledgable and enthusiastic person, and his passion for Borjomi Kharagauli was evident. I still remember the spark in his eyes when he began to explain to me why Borjomi Kharagauli is unique. His recent death was a shock and a tragedy. Vlado Vancura, Deputy Chairman, European Wilderness Society.