A change of guard at the African Field Ranger Training Services Division

Since its inception the Southern African Wildlife College has conducted field ranger training across the African region to meet the needs of the conservation industry.

Under the leadership of Ruben de Kock, who started working with the College two decades ago, the African Field Ranger Training Services Division, which falls under the College’s Protected Area Integrity Unit, has developed a well-earned reputation for supplying highly competent personnel to protected areas throughout SADC and further afield.

Ruben & Marianne de Kock

In April 2019, de Kock will be joining one of our partner organisations’, WWF, in Cambodia to launch a new phase of his career and the College has appointed Andrew (Andy) Davies to take on this challenging leadership position.

“As an accredited SADC training institute, Davies is taking over a well-oiled machine and we’re excited to have his expertise deployed to the benefit of the College, its students, and the conservation industry,” said College CEO, Theresa Sowry.

Davies has an impressive range of multidisciplinary experience in law enforcement, community relationship-building and conservation management, most recently as Joint Operations Manager in the Malawi Zambia Transfrontier Conservation Area. Davies is also no stranger to the College, having presented Protected Area Security and Operational Planning workshops to our students over a number of years, as well as participating in Protected Area Integrity Management Effectiveness Assessments with the Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA). Prior to his work in conservation, he was in the South African Defence force.

“Given Davies extensive experience in field ranger training, operational planning, counter poaching and park management with a strong community emphasis, he was an obvious choice for this important role,  especially given our four tiered approach to counter poaching training,” said Sowry. She added that de Kock and Davies have previously worked together with Davies mentoring de Kock early in his career, “so they’re cut from similar cloth”.

The unit’s ethos has always been to provide strong, in house training to rangers  to ensure students receive the most relevant and up-to-date training available. Its work has been fundamental to efforts to curb the current rhino poaching crisis, as well as to counter incursions within parks whilst also ensuring law enforcement in such areas. Given the scope and depth of field ranger training provided by the College under de Kock’s leadership, they have also worked with the International Rangers Federation to take the lead in developing training materials in consultation with various experts to standardise and professionalise ranger training, at both a basic and advanced level across the region, shaping not just its students, but the future of the industry.

“To our donors and supporters, thank-you for your ongoing commitment to providing the highest standards of training to rangers working on the frontlines in incredibly challenging conditions. I am humbled to  have been trusted with this job for so long and have no doubt that Marianne de Kock and myself  will be leaving the unit in the best of hands. To our  thousands of students past and present – continue to serve with pride and integrity. And to those students still to come – this is a worthy calling and the future is in your hands,” he said.

Commending the de Kocks’ for their  enormous contribution to the College, Sowry said “we would like to thank Ruben and Marianne for their passion and professionalism. They have really elevated our ranger training to the best on the continent, and we’re looking forward on building on this. Plus we’re not losing Ruben entirely as there are great synergies between our work and his new role.”


For more information, contact:

Theresa Sowry

Chief Exective Officer

Southern African Wildlife College

Email: tsowry@sawc.org.za

Tel: +27 (0)15 793 7300