The Bateleur – Quarter 1 (2024)

The first quarter of the year has felt a bit like a rollercoaster ride; just as you hit a high following completion of a task or training course or after securing some new business or much-needed funding, you then hit the next dip as you realise there is loads more of the same still to come. That said it’s been an exhilarating ride thus far as the College not only continues with its on-campus work but spreads its wings across the continent and beyond.

We are so buoyed by continuing relationships and partnerships where we collectively find solutions and funding to address ongoing conservation work and training as well as challenges faced on campus given our aging infrastructure. Here huge thanks must go to Friends of African Wildlife, the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust, Rufford Foundation, WildArk and to our new partner Kaufmann, (part of the Agrinet stable); who have all extended their support. This is enabling us to address critical capex and core requirements such as our roofing, waste-water management system, licensing requirements and the upgrade of our K9 Unit.  

Our partnerships have also led us to Saudi Arabia, Rwanda, Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania in the first quarter whilst also welcoming visitors from Germany.  We also continue training both on campus and off site in other wildlife reserves and community areas in South Africa and across the continent. Our sincere thanks is extended to our conservation partners and to our donors who make this possible. 

What has been very humbling this quarter is the people who arrived for “selection” for field ranger training. Knowing that this would need to be whittled down to the required numbers, we had over 1200 people arrive at our main gate on the day of the first selection. People arrived in cars, taxis, mini-buses and on foot. Saddened by the number of people desperate for jobs but focused on the task of selecting the most suitable people, our Protected Area Integrity Department’s, African Field Ranger Training Services unit managed the situation with aplomb. They processed each applicant that arrived whilst advising those that made the grade of the date for the second more physical selection process. Read more about this under news from our Protected Area Integrity Department.

Despite all the highs and lows experienced, we remain committed to our training mandate using an applied learning approach. This not only impacts our training courses, our projects, our research and our students but also our staff as we continue to train beyond boundaries. We invite you to read a little more about these endeavours in the first issue of The Bateleur this year. 

Enjoy the read, 
Jeanné

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