The 31st of July is recognised as World Ranger Day. A day when we are meant to acknowledge and support the work of rangers and the International Ranger Federation (IRF). The day was first celebrated back in 2007 and since then has become an important way for us all to learn about the incredible service that rangers provide for the national parks around the world. It also gives us the chance to commemorate the lives of rangers who have been killed or injured performing critical work to preserve earth’s natural wonders.
The role of the park ranger is to protect and conserve all aspects of wild areas with significant cultural, ecological and historical heritage. Along with maintaining these sites, rangers also provide links and education to local communities in an effort to make amateur park rangers out of us all.
If you think that America’s Yellowstone National Park is the oldest national park in the world then you would be wrong. The area surrounding Bogd Khan Uul Mountain in Mongolia was established as a national park by the Mongolian government back in 1778, a full century before Yellowstone.
Rangers are often responsible for the day to day management of natural tourist attractions, ensuring that pathways, bridges and fencing are all maintained. They should be park experts, the ones to spend the most time in that area, so that they can best understand what the environment needs and what role we can all play in supporting that.
None of this comes easily, especially against ongoing battle with poaching and deforestation. Park rangers will often put their lives at risk to protect the environment that they have been entrusted with. You are more likely to be assaulted whilst at work if you are a park ranger than an FBI or a border control agent.
This rise in violence against rangers can also be attributed to cutbacks, resulting in roughly 50% fewer park rangers today than in the 1980s, something that has not been helped with rising tourist numbers.
Whilst Yellowstone National Park is arguably the most famous national park in the world, spanning over 3 separate states and larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined, there are over 4,000 different national parks across the globe, each one with something unique to offer the 270 million tourists who make regular visits to the sites.
Here is a little information on a few that have caught the eye:
Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal
This one is an easy choice. This is the national park of the tallest mountain the world. You could argue that this park is a little one dimensional, but with Everest looming above every square foot of it, do you really need another dimension?
Kruger National Park, South Africa
One of Africa’s oldest national parks and absolutely paramount in keeping certain species of elephant and rhino alive, you will be hard pushed to find such a stunning array of wildlife anywhere on the planet.
The success of national parks in Africa can be mirrored with the success of the Southern White Rhino. At the turn of the 19th century they were thought to be extinct, hunted off the face of the earth by poachers. Whilst their rise in numbers has been slow, there are over 20,000 Southern White Rhinos in the world today, unlike the Northern White Rhino, which is thought to be critically endangered and possibly extinct in the wild.
Australia gets 2 Mentions
To say that the Daintree Rainforest is old would be a bit like saying that rain is wet. At 135 million years old, a walk in those woods is a stroll backwards in time. The dinosaurs may have gone and the continents may have shifted but the eco-system is similar to what it would have been long before man walked upright and the animals that live there are unlike any you will see anywhere else on this planet.
And if that wasn’t enough, our antipodean friends have spoiled us with one of the earth’s most incredible natural wonders. The Great Barrier Reef is a national park and is the largest and best known coral reef ecosystem in the world. Its reefs, almost 3000 in total, represent about 10 per cent of all the coral reef areas in the world.
Galápagos National Park, Ecuador
Last, but not least is Ecuador’s first National Park. The Galápagos Islands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, in no small thanks to the incredible animals that live within its coast lines. The location of Charles Darwin’s crucial research, its islands host both the Darwin Research Station and a Marine Reserve among a refreshing air of conservation throughout.
Whilst there you can see animals such as marine iguanas, Galapagos crabs, reef sharks and the gigantic Galápagos tortoise.
This list is but a small sample of some of the incredible national parks that the world has to offer and gives a peak into the life and important work that park rangers take on each day.
To mark the occasion we want to take a look into some of the awe inspiring woodland and forests that have been set as the backdrop to some of our favourite slot games.
For the purpose of this list we’ve decided to embrace our own clichéd perception of park rangers and gone for a list of woodland themed slots. We’ve kept other eco systems for other lists and prioritised quaint and magical above vast and sprawling.
You will be hard pushed to find a sub-standard slot on this list and I’ve done my best to make sure that it is as relevant as was possible for a list of 10 slots, with none of the entries seeing a release tat stretches back further than 2 years.
Top 10 Woodland Themed Slots
Druids’ Dream was released in April this year and is typical Net Entertainment in its design and features. You get Free Spins, respins, nudges and stacked Wilds, and you can retrigger the Free Spins. However, the biggest draw with this slot is the design. Druids’ Dream uses bright vibrant colours and intricate detail to bring to life some fairy magic. Set in the deep of the forest with druids and various creatures found in Britain’s vast but long-lost great forests this is the perfect start to our list of woodland themed slots.
Lady Earth is another 2020 release and like the aforementioned Druids’ Dream this one has been exquisitely designed with a love of nature firmly in mind. The slot is bright and vibrant and it comes with Respins, a Bonus feature and a house edge that is offering good value for money. Lady Earth has a spiritual theme, with the obvious mother nature connection. There is something Pagan in the symbols that have been included, with a distinct focus on symbols associated with nature, setting things deep within an enchanted forest. This is all contrasted with a modern neon styling that adds a sci fi twist to the design.
Riches of Robin
The Riches of Robin slot is unsurprisingly a Robin Hood theme. Robbing the rich to give to the poor is the perfect concept for anyone looking to raid the coffers of a big gambling operator. In this instance you get various characters from the myths populating your reels, from Little John and Maid Marion to Friar Tuck. You get Free Spins, a Bonus, Wilds and a random feature. Add to this a solid house edge and you have a an excellent slot.
Wilhelm Tell was released earlier this year and it gave us much of what we have come to expect from a quality Yggdrasil slot. Of course it looks great, but it also has a fun, creative theme based on the Swiss legend that tells the story of a 14th century hero who was famed for shooting an arrow straight through an apple from some distance using his trusty crossbow. He’s a ort of Robin Hood type character and as such he spends a fair amount of time in woodland areas, something that is reflected in the slot’s design. As for features, you get stacked Wilds that can nudge into place when a win can be formed. You get Free Spins too, and they come with a 3 different options and you have a house edge that is well below the average, making this a slot that is offering seriously good value for money.
Wild Tome of the Woods
Wild Tome of the Woods is not a slot that will blow you away in terms of the features that are on offer but in terms of its design this is as good as any slot on the list. There is only the one feature in this slot and whilst that could be off-putting it is an excellent feature and the slot does look exceptional.
Sheriff of Nottingham
The Sheriff of Nottingham slot is a 2020 release from iSoftBet, which as the iSoftBet brand should suggest is a stunning looking game. In this instance it is the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham who takes centre stage, providing the slot with its title and one of the key symbols in the game. However, Sherwood Forest is there in the background providing us with the setting we need for this slot to fit the theme of this article. You get the perfect 3 of Wilds, Free Spins and Bonus features, with the Wanted Respins offering something pretty exciting if you can trigger them and at the time of its release this was one of the best slots of the year.
Wizard of the Woods
The Wizard of the Woods slot is the only 2by2 release on this list. You have the Wizard who performs his magic in enchanted woods. There are elves or pixies living in these woods, along with white deer. Chuck in a few magic crystals and potions and you have Wizard of the Wood. You get Free Spins and one random feature and you Wild symbols. And the good news is that the Free Spins can be retriggered.
The Wilderland slot is our second Net Entertainment release and as you might expect there is an awful lot to like about it. This stunning slot has a Celtic look and feel to it. The Symbols are all Celtic in design and the characters symbols are either fairies or elves. The whole thing is set inside an enchanted forest where myth and magic come to life. You get 4 different Walking Wilds features, Free Spins and 1 random feature. The Free Spins come with a few modifiers to make them that little bit special. This is easily one of our favourite slots of 2020.
Robin Hood’s Wild Forest
The Robin Hood’s Wild Forest slot is obviously based on the Robin Hood myths. There are bags of gold, pints of foaming beer and background appears to be a house deep in the woods that is surrounded with chests and bags of gold. This slot is all about the Wild symbols, with an array of them helping to light this game up.
Wonder Woods was released early on in 2020 and is our final slot on this list. This Microgaming slot is set in the woods where there appears to be an abundance of fruits for you to feast on. There are no characters or symbols that would allow us to narrow the theme down any further. The colours are bright and the animations are playful, making it a real feast for they eye. You get Wilds, Mystery symbols and Free Spins, which come with sticky Mystery symbols.
This selection of 10 slot have all been released within the last 2 years, which is testament to the incredible output of quality slots that we have seen over the last 24 months. If you have delved further back into the depths of time I have absolutely no doubt that we would have made a list of 20 slots, such is the quality of slots that have been given a woodland setting.
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