The training of the rangers is comprehensive. Rangers must learn to care for the health and happiness of their bloodhounds, how to work with them in the field, and all about crime scene investigation.
The young dogs also have a lot to learn. Although bloodhounds have been selectively bred for centuries to man-trail, they still need a lot of field training. The humid mountain forests and dry savannas present unique challenges to bloodhounds in terms following scents across streams, rivers, and through dense, thorny vegetation, and biting insects. Marlene has been amazed with how well both dogs and rangers have risen to meet the challenges.
She has been equally impressed with how intelligent, capable, and friendly her ranger colleagues have been and how much she herself has fallen in love with Virunga. Life in eastern Congo is extremely hard and dangerous for civilians, and especially for rangers. In the last twenty years, over 130 of Virunga's rangers have died defending the park. In 2011 alone, the park lost seven rangers. Despite this, Marlene has found the rangers to be highly motivated and extremely professional.
Marlene soon realized that only a super motivated ranger force is ready to give their best to rescue the park and its animals. That was when she initiated and build a social and recreational program at the headquarters in Rumangabo.