Field Ranger Training

Field Ranger Training through our Protected Area Integrity Department

The main duty of a field ranger is to protect our natural environment and to ensure the integrity of the park and area in which he/she operates.

Over the past decade, and as a direct result of the onslaught of wildlife crime, our Field Ranger training department has substantially increased the number of field rangers trained.  In doing so, it has bolstered its counter poaching training and has increased the number of train-the-trainer programmes.

As part of its wildlife guardianship role, the aim of the Protected Area Integrity department is to provide effective and relevant training as well as specialized support services and leadership training to front line conservation rangers in Africa and beyond. Through the College’s applied learning by doing approach we are also able to help test and inform the conservation sector on best practice.

On request of conservation organisations, the field ranger training department has also expanded its area integrity services to include canine assets (dog teams for field rangers) and aerial surveillance using light sports aircraft.  These units work hand in hand with our Rural Initiatives for a Sustainable Environment (RISE) unit to help ensure the upliftment and inclusion of  rural communities surrounding wildlife areas. This is imperative if we are to find viable solutions to safeguarding our wildlife and other natural resources.

Field Rangers are at the forefront of anti-poaching efforts throughout Africa and, as the protectors of wildlife, they play a critical role in conservation. Trained Field Rangers implement the law enforcement component of nature conservation and as a result, they often work in hostile environments. It is our job to prepare Field Rangers to do their jobs ethically, effectively, and safely. They in turn have to be dedicated and adequately equipped to deal with the physical and mental demands of the job.

Field Ranger training is conducted at our specially dedicated and equipped field ranger training base located in close proximity to the College’s main campus. Training has also taken place off site in a number of SADC countries and, given their skills set, the department’s trainers have also been deployed to conduct training in places as far afield as Myanmar, Georgia, India and Cambodia.

Field Rangers are the first, and often last line, of defence when poaching incidents occur in protected areas. Our expert trainers are well-geared to equip Field Rangers and trainees with the knowledge and skills needed to successfully work and operate in these wilderness areas. Tactical and operational training is provided at all levels from basic unarmed training to specialist anti-poaching skills, which includes apprehension and evidence gathering techniques. When training takes places on site it is further facilitated by ground-to-air training and exposure to the incorporation of a K9 asset to protect wildlife. We also keep abreast of the latest tactics and technologies being applied in the field and we are constantly testing and innovating new practices.

If you would like to support this vital department or the training of a Field Ranger, please click on our donate button or visit the Our Horn is not Medicine campaign page.

Supporting Partners

Department Contact Info

Protected Area Integrity Unit (AFRTS)

Southern African Wildlife College

Altin Gysman
paiadmin(at)sawc.org.za

Mon – Fri 9:00A.M. – 5:00P.M.

Social Info

Short courses Online courses

What makes up our Field Ranger Training Department

Our K9 Asset
Aerial Support
Tactical Operations

Free running hounds

Our K9 Unit consists of both on-leash tracking dogs, which are trained to work with handlers, and free-running pack dogs, which can follow a scent trail much faster than a human-led dog. The introduction of these off-leash hounds in 2018 proved to multiply the effect of the anti-poaching team and continues to increase the rate of apprehensions. Find out more about our K9 Unit here.

Eye in the Sky

Our Airwing gives counter-poaching operations a critical edge, offering surveillance in the form of regular aerial patrols over protected areas, and deploying Field Rangers and tracker dogs in accurate locations, quickly and efficiently. Aerial support also plays a vital role in data collection for conservation management. Read more about our Air wing unit.

Boots on the ground

This is the area of training designed for advanced Field Rangers to teach life-saving techniques in emergency anti-poaching operations. It includes tactical tracking, planning and deployment, advanced navigation and movement techniques, and ground-to-air training. This is vital training for the first line of defence – boots on the ground. Read more about Tactical Operations training.

Course Curriculum

Available Courses

Field Ranger Law Enforcement – Armed

Department : Protected Area Integrity
Level : NQF Level 2
Instructor : Excelent Macabe, Gert Dibakoane, John Makgoka
Credit : 38
Method : Campus, Contact Training
Duration : 6 weeks
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Field Ranger Law Enforcement – Unarmed

Department : Protected Area Integrity
Level : NQF Level 2
Instructor : Excelent Macabe, Gert Dibakoane, John Makgoka
Credit : 38
Method : Campus, Contact Training
Duration : 5 weeks
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Field Ranger Protected Area (Unarmed)

Department : Protected Area Integrity
Level : NQF Level 2
Instructor : Chris Kafoteka
Credit : 37
Method : Campus, Contact Training
Duration : 6 weeks
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Short Courses

Braveheart – Ranger Leadership Development Programme

Department : Protected Area Integrity
Instructor : Various instructors
Method : Campus, Offsite, Online
Duration : 21 days
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Environmental Management Inspector Grade 5

Department : Protected Area Integrity
Instructor : Various instructors
Method : Campus, Offsite
Duration : 5 days
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Protected Area Security Operations Planning (PASOP)

Department : Protected Area Integrity
Instructor : Various instructors
Method : Campus, Offsite, Online
Duration : 14 days
Read More

Patrol Leader

Department : Protected Area Integrity
Instructor : Various instructors
Method : Campus, Offsite
Duration : 14 days
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Field Ranger Advanced

Department : Protected Area Integrity
Instructor : PAI
Method : Campus, Offsite
Duration : 14 days
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Conservation Law Enforcement

Department : Protected Area Integrity
Level : NQF Level 5
Instructor : PAI
Credit : Institutional
Method : Campus, Online
Duration : 10 days
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Ensuring Ecosystem Integrity

Department : Protected Area Integrity
Level : NQF Level 5
Instructor : Various instructors
Method : Campus, Online
Duration : 5 days
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Track a person in a natural environment

Department : Protected Area Integrity
Level : NQF Level 5
Instructor : Various instructors
Method : Campus, Lecture, Online
Duration : 25 days
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Natural Resource Protection

Department : Protected Area Integrity
Level : NQF Level 6
Instructor : External
Credit : Institutional
Method : Campus, Online
Duration : 10 days
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Humanitarian Law and Human Rights with an emphasis on Conservation issues

Department : Protected Area Integrity
Level : NQF Level 5
Instructor : Various instructors
Method : Campus, Online
Duration : 5 days
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Online Courses

LSA/PPL Aviation Theory Course

Department : Protected Area Integrity
Instructor : Bruce McDonald, Pierre Wilkinson
Method : Online
Duration : 8 weeks
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Braveheart – Ranger Leadership Development Programme

Department : Protected Area Integrity
Instructor : Various instructors
Method : Campus, Offsite, Online
Duration : 21 days
Read More

Protected Area Security Operations Planning (PASOP)

Department : Protected Area Integrity
Instructor : Various instructors
Method : Campus, Offsite, Online
Duration : 14 days
Read More