The annual African Wildlife Heritage Gala Dinner, now in its sixth year and aimed at supporting worthy conservation causes, recently raised a remarkable R1, 286-millon in one night. The event's fundraising efforts over the past six years top R8-million, which underpins the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA's) commitment to conservation.
The fundraising initiative was launched in 2007. Adri Kitshoff, CEO of PHASA said: "At the outset, the hunting fraternity and various conservation organisations agreed that the biggest contribution PHASA could make to conservation was to ensure that wildlife managers are adequately trained. The Southern African Wildlife College provided the ideal vehicle to do just that. Through PHASA's Conservation and Empowerment Fund, donors continue to support this annual event and in so doing ensure that wildlife rangers, field guides and protected area managers already in the field of conservation receive the training they need."
"Since the event's inception, we have been able to train over 700 people from across the Southern African Development (SADC) region," said Theresa Sowry, CEO of the Wildlife College. "This just goes to show what can be done when leading players and organisations in the conservation industry band together."
The funds are raised by way of acquiring and auctioning exclusive donations of hunting and accommodation packages, luxury weekend retreats, hunting equipment and wildlife art donated by various conservation organisations, outfitters and businesses to support conservation training needs across the SADC region.