Yolanda Pretorius, Dr

Yolanda Pretorius, Dr

Manager: Curriculum & Training Development

“Education in conservation is only as effective as the level of compassion between the people practicing it and the people impacting on it.”


Yolanda’s main responsibility is managing the two Higher Education Training programmes in Wildlife Area Management, which attracts students from across the SADC region and beyond.

Before being employed by the SAWC in 2017, she was a lecturer with the Centre for Wildlife Management (University of Pretoria). Her academic qualifications include a BSc(Agric) in Animal Science and a BSc(hons) in Wildlife Management through the University of Pretoria, a research MSc on stress in elephants through the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a PhD in Wildlife Ecology through Wageningen University.

She is passionate about wildlife conservation and management and has worked as field technician, monitor and manager on several reserves across South Africa. “My “pet” passion is anything related to elephants hence co-authoring a number of published articles and books on the subject.  I am also vice chair of the Elephant Specialist Advisory Group of South Africa.”


  • BSc(Agric) Animal Science
  • BSc(Hons) Wildlife Management with thesis on feed supplement for African elephant on a fenced game reserve (2001)University of Pretoria, South Africa
  • MSc in Biology with thesis on stress in African elephant on a fenced game reserve (2002-2003)University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  • PhD in Ecology with thesis on small scale foraging by large African herbivores (2005-2009)Wageningen University, the Netherlands
  • Elephant monitor for Ezemvelo KZN parks at Ithala Game Reserve during 2004. Manager of Magudu Game Reserve’s disease-free buffalo breeding program and elephant and rhino monitoring project during 2010.
  • Research assistant at Mabula Private Game Reserve on cheetah re-introduction and human-elephant conflict resolution projects between 2011 and 2013.
  • Lecturer in Wildlife ecology and management at the Centre for Wildlife ManagementUniversity of Pretoria from 2013-2017
  • Vice Chairperson of the Elephant Specialist Advisory Group, South Africa
  • Trustee of the Elephant Reintegration Trust (ERT) since 2016