Southern African Wildlife College
The Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) is a SADC-recognised not-for-profit training organization based just outside the Kruger National Park in South Africa. It delivers conservation education, training and skills development programmes to provide those on the front lines of conservation with the tools they need to protect our wildlife. Through scientific research and applied learning, the SAWC is able create and implement innovative solutions to address the ever increasing threats to our natural environment. In doing so, the SAWC is also impacting the role that conservation plays in poverty alleviation in communities located in and around our wildlife reserves.
There is a poaching pandemic happening across Southern Africa, with rhino, elephant, pangolin and other species being targeted. In South Africa, rhinos are under critical threat with poachers slaughtering three rhino every 24 hours for their horn. Last year (2016) the killing totalled 1,054. It’s far too many - but it’s 10.3% less than in 2015. We can turn the tide, but we have to act fast. If this crisis isn’t resolved soon, an animal that has roamed the earth for over 50 million years will be extinct within the next 20. And if the current trend continues, deaths will soon outweigh the number of births.
So what stands between our rhinos and extinction?
Well trained, passionate conservation professionals and a solid strategy.
To support this, the Southern African Wildlife College has created a four-tiered approach to its training deliverables:
- Competent Field Rangers on the ground. They are on the front lines of this battle, battling it out on foot in tough conditions. All day every day they act as the shield between the poacher and our rhino. It’s an extremely dangerous job. They need to be well-trained and well-equipped.
- Aerial Surveillance and Ground to Air Patrols. With light aircraft in the air, they can plot and monitor rhino movements. During an operation they can locate the poachers if they break cover and run or help rescue a calf whose mother lies slaughtered beside it.
- A well-trained K9 Capability. Dogs can track much faster than people and in terrain where even the best human trackers would lose the trail. They can also apprehend and hold poachers at bay while support arrives.
- Community Involvement. By making sure that local communities are partners in conservation and through governance structures, help them to benefit from the wildlife economy.
With your backing this is possible!