The Wilderness Foundation Africa works from its base in South Africa to protect and sustain wildlife and wilderness through integrated conservation and education programmes. Whether it is direct action anti-poaching in the field, large landscape wilderness management, or developing rising young leaders from disadvantaged communities for a career in conservation, the Wilderness Foundation has over 40 years of results.
Having recently celebrated my 30th year with the Wilderness Foundation, it is appropriate to take a moment to reflect on where we have come from before we plan for the future. The Wilderness Foundation was established in 1972 by conservation pioneer and my mentor, Dr Ian Player, who led the team that saved the white rhino from extinction in the 1960s. The team at the Wilderness Foundation will continue the legacy of Ian, working to create a world that has sufficient intact natural ecosystems and wilderness areas that are valued and effectively protected for the benefit of all species.
A new rhino awareness campaign that launched this month in 11 international schools throughout Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), is calling on the young people of Vietnam to be superheroes and speak out against the use of rhino horn in their country.
The Wilderness Foundation Africa, through the Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative and the Wildlife Operations Group, has offered a R100 000 reward for information leading to the successful arrest and prosecution of those involved in the most recent killing of rhino in the Eastern Cape.
Earlier today, Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, declared the Mountain Zebra-Camdeboo Protected Environment. This is in accordance with Act No. 57 of 2003 of the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 2003, under section 28(1). The Wilderness Foundation, in conjunction with South African National Parks, facilitated the establishment of the Protected Environment through the Mountain Zebra Camdeboo Corridor project, and South African National Parks will be responsible for the monitoring and annual auditing thereof in future.
J.K. Rowling notes that "it is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.” Refusing to let failure determine the course of their lives, the first Siyazenzela group for 2016, graduated from the wellness and skills development programme on 11 February 2016.
The 19th of January, 2016, marked yet another incredible journey and good story to tell for the Wilderness Foundation Africa. It was day one in class for many budding and eager to learn Siyazenzela students. But like everyone else on their first day of school, the emotions were a mixture of excitement and nervousness about the journey ahead. The students were meeting for the very first time inside the classroom after their wilderness selection trail.