South African Wildlife College
In 2015 I was introduced to a company named Dakine, makers of very high-end backpacks and water packs which we thought would be perfect for the rangers in the field. We knew they needed high-end products that wouldn't tear when running through the bush and that could withstand all types of weather and the Dakine products were ideal. Dakine were receptive and we managed to get a great deal on a couple of their discontinued lines. So we hired a pick-up in Johannesburg to get them all to Nelspruit and from there to Hoedspruit and the Southern African Wildlife College, a superb institution specializing in conservation education, training, and skills development.
The college equips people with the qualifications, practical experience, and thought leadership they need to manage complex ecosystems, conserve wildlife and empower local communities. There we met everyone currently in the college and got to hand out our donations to these guys and girls who literally put their lives at risk, even before graduating, as their training takes them into the field into real situations in the line of fire. Even fully trained they are often underpaid and undervalued – and these are the brave souls who we depend on to protect our wildlife.
“When people ask why we are helping animals and not people I explain that this is not the case at all. It's all connected - we're all connected. To help the animals is to help the people, and vice versa.”