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Private Bag X3015, Hoedspruit 1380, South Africa                 Telephone: +27 (0)15 793 7300 Fax: +27 (0)15 7937314
e-mail: info@sawc.org.za  web: www.wildlifecollege.org.za
FROM THE EDITOR

Dear friends of the College,

2021 continues at a rapid pace but with a number of exciting developments and training opportunities. Income generation remains a priority however especially with the news hot of the press, that due to increased Covid-19 infection rates in South Africa, the country will move into a Level 4 lockdown for a period of two weeks commencing on Monday 28 June 2021.  

See latest Covid-19 developments in message from the CEO below. This essentially means that contact training has to cease over the next two weeks at all training institutions including the College, thereby impacting all training currently taking place, except that being done online. Another government regulation impacting the College is that of the Protection of Personal Information Protection Act (POPIA). Please do take the time to read up about this under HR News below given the significance of POPIA in terms of use and dissemination of personal information.

The third quarter of the year, which we are now moving into is traditionally a very busy period for the College and its students. We are trusting that Covid-19 infection rates will drop and that we as training institution will be able to go back to our “new normal”, where we will continue to strive to exceed expectations. 
 

Thanks for reading,

Jeanné Poultney 
Executive Manager - Marketing, Fundraising and Media Relations

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

College currently closed for contact training


As per Regulation Gazette Number: 565 released by the Department of Cooperative Governance, Chapter 3 section 18 (1), schools and institutions of higher education will be closed for contact training from the 30 June 2021. This follows President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on 27 June 2021 that South Africa was moving to Level 4 to slow down transmission of the Covid-19 virus. The restrictions will remain in place for 14 days, until 11 July, and will be assessed thereafter.

As a result, and as a registered Higher Education and Training Institute, the Southern African Wildlife College has unfortunately had to cease all contact training until withdrawal, cessation of, or amendment to Regulation number: 565 by the regulatory authorities.

The SAWC encourages all stakeholders, partners and clients to engage with the relevant SAWC business unit managers/departmental heads on postponing training and projects to a suitable date and time, unless suitable arrangements can be made to host these online or within the parameters of the regulations.

Apart from the mandatory wearing of face masks, health and safety protocols and required social distancing;
  • Every person is confined to his or her place of residence from 21h00 until 04h00 daily, unless
Special permission has been granted by the relevant Cabinet Minister, the person is attending to a security or medical emergency or arrives on a flight or is travelling to and from the Airport during restricted hours or movement.
  • The closing time for places permitted to remain open is 20h00
  • Interprovincial travel for leisure to and from Gauteng is prohibited, travel for work or for the attendance of funeral is permitted provided the necessary permits are in place. Travel for medical treatment, moving to a new place of residence and caring for an immediate family member is also permitted together with other circumstantial allowances governed by the Gazetted Level 4 Disaster Management Act 57-2002; with amendment of regulations as issued.
  • All gatherings are prohibited until 11 July after which this provision will be reviewed. This excludes gatherings for funerals, when at a workplace or when buying or obtaining goods or services with strict adherence to all health protocols. Attendance of funerals is limited to 50 persons or less, with a distance of one and a half metres being observed in said venue.
  • Restaurants and other dining facilities may only operate for off-site consumption of food and non-alcoholic beverages
  • All places and premises normally open to the public where religious, cultural, entertainment, recreational or similar activities may take place, are to be closed.
  • The 20 land borders which are fully operational will remain as such, and the 33 land borders which were closed will remain closed.
  • Travelling to and from the republic is allowed subject to sub-regulations. International air travel is restricted to the following airports: OR Tambo, King Shaka International, Cape Town International, Lanseria International and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport.
  • The sale, dispensing and distribution of liquor is prohibited, except for export.
  • All persons who can work from home must do so, However, persons will be permitted to perform any type of work outside their home, and travel to and from work and for work purposes subject to Adjusted Alert Level 4 protocols and with specific exclusions.
For further information on the new regulations: 
Level 4 Disaster Management Act 57-2002 - Amendment of Regulations issued in terms of section (20210627-GGR-44772-00565)

COVID19 GNR 567 of 2021 Amendment of Regulations issued in terms of Section 27 2 of the Disaster Management Act 2002
 
NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Institutional News


The quarter under review concluded a number of agreements including those with partners WWF-South African and with South African National Parks. An updated partnership agreement with Peace Parks Foundation is being finalized as in an updated agreement with SADC.  

We were also delighted to be awarded new grants from the Rufford Foundation, a long standing donor to the SAWC, My School MyVillage MyPlanet Fund in support of the K9 Unit, Italtile and Ceramic Foundation Trust who has come on board in support of our guiding interns and field ranger trainees as well as from Investec Bank Limited via its Investec Rhino Lifeline project.  The Awareness and Fundraising Partnership with Investec, which comprises selected education and training skills development and conservation projects includes the Herding for Health pilot project to address carbon impact, soil restoration, training and employment in the local community; Coaching Conservation to raise conservation awareness amongst school learners, and train carefully selected individuals for conservation-related jobs.

In addition, via the First Rand First Job initiative, the College will have the support of 20 interns who will be interning across various departments at the College. This follows the five interns supported via the First Job initiative during the 2020/2021 year.

Support from our Anchor and Core donors including Friends of African Wildlife, Tusk Trust, the MAVA Foundation, the Ivan Carter Wildlife Conservation Trust and the International Rhino Foundation has been invaluable in terms of support for the institution and our training units at large.

Tusk Trust’s Wildlife Ranger Challenge grant has also been instrumental in enabling our counter poaching and field ranger training units to continue operating. This where we have seen a resurgence in poaching of rhino within the greater Kruger Area and where dehorning operations have now been necessitated. A huge thank you must go to the donors who support these units, including Pack Leader who continue to keep our dogs well fed and healthy as a result of their donation of Orijen Pet Food.

We were delighted to be included in the CNN coverage on Technology in Conservation featuring the SAWC and other organisations. Our Research and Development Department did us proud and the insert has been aired numerous times on the African channel. We are also looking forward to seeing a publication following the visit of seasoned journalist John Yeld, to the College. What the visit brought home was the rich and un-explored history of our community, especially the elders within the community who need to be honoured for the role they have played in shaping the area.

Also visiting the College, via the Ivan Carter Wildlife Conservation Alliance, was the Wright family, Doug and Susan Samuelson as well as the Dave May and Sarah Walker group. In addition, the Warriors for African Wildlife Vets, under the leadership of founder and director Brad Craven, have had an extended visit to the College. Over the last few weeks they have undergone training with some of our units, whilst also integrating in some fun activities. Read the full article under General News.

Our 2020/2021 Youth Access bridging programme sponsored by the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust, Friends of African Wildlife, the Timbavati Foundation and Distell Limited came to a close, with four of the nine learners who qualified now interning at the College, due to the pressures currently being faced in the conservation tourism sector.

Various posts on our social media platforms continue to garner support so please do access our Facebook and Instagram posts for up to date news, which over the last couple of months has included news on the African Intergenerational Leadership Hub, our Dangerous Game Site Guide Training, the dehorning of rhino on Kempiana, our new online Light Sports Aircraft Course, our specialist ranger training taking place in Mozambique, the Warriors for African Wildlife Vets visit, and on the Tusk Trust Lewa Virtual Run.
Talking about platforms, we would encourage all our stakeholders to update their LinkedIn profiles for further engagement with the SAWC and its personnel and then also to log on to WeNaturalists.

WeNaturalists is a global ecosystem empowering nature professionals and organisations working in nature. The site allows one to meet global nature professionals, showcase your skills, find work prospects, explore learning opportunities, discuss ideas and solutions and create a larger impact, together. Through customised tools and experiences it provides a space for new opportunities, nurture learning, and foster a global exchange of ideas and solutions so do check it out.

Once again a huge thank you to all our donors who make the work we do possible.

News from the Southern African Wildlife College Trust


By Justin Smith - Head of Business Development Unit, WWF-South Africa - Business Partnerships, Marketing and Fundraising

The Southern African Wildlife College Trust assets are primarily invested in the WWF supported Prescient (now Sanlam) Living Planet Fund focused on both financial performance and environmental sustainability criteria.

The Living Planet Fund remains well diversified across asset classes, including SA equities (FTSE/JSE Capped ALSI); Foreign equities (MSCI World), Fixed income and Cash. It is further diversified across countries, currencies and industries.

The extremely volatile financial market experience during the 2020 pandemic, was well absorbed by the Fund as shown by the fine recovery from April lows, ending the year with a strong 13% return, outperforming inflation, outperforming the benchmark and outperforming peer funds over 1, 3 and 5 years. (It continues its top half performance ranking against 195 peer funds in the ASISA Multi Asset Class category on a 1-year basis).

The Living Planet Fund was named the winner in the 2021 Morningstar South African Fund Awards as the Best Aggressive Allocation Fund. Morningstar is a leading global provider of investment research and has an extensive line of products and services it offers the global investment industry. The awards emphasises the one year return at the end of 2020 but Funds must also have a strong three and five-year track record of risk adjusted returns.

Our sincere thanks is extended to all donors who continue to contribute to the Trust in support of the Southern African Wildlife College, its sole beneficiary.

News from Our Horn is NOT Medicine

 
By Lee-Anne Yammin - Manager: OHNM Campaign
 
In arriving at the winter solstice we are once again greeted with the beautiful golden hues and dusty colours that the bush veld shows us at this wonderful time of year. Definitely my favourite!
 
Water is always scarce which makes any remaining water holes a hot spot for poachers. It may sound easy to monitor but there are so many waterholes that can’t be monitored in the massive areas we patrol. This is why our Savanna aircraft has proven to be such a win. Bruce is able to check from the air on various activity such as waterholes, vulture activity and anything that may seem out of the ordinary.
 
Earlier this week Bruce was able to spot lions feeding on a rhino carcass and as he flew in lower he noticed a very young calf standing nearby its mother's carcass. The calf looked thin and needed assistance. Bruce radioed in the KNP chopper and the little calf was sedated and taken to a rhino orphanage where he is getting special attention. It looks like he is going to be okay and he has already bonded with another little orphan calf of a similar age.
Aerial Support Unit - Baby Rhino Rescue with SANParks and Care for Wild. 
This is a great example to all of the OHNM donors who have helped us in covering our Aerial Support Unit's running costs of the daily work that our plane does. We honestly can’t operate without it and obviously our talented and passionate pilot Bruce McDonald.
 
Thank you to all of you for the support provided.

We are also very excited to finally have a Paypal account directly linked to OHNM. You can find the donate button on our beautiful new OHNM page on the SAWC website. 

A reminder that we are able to issue tax receipts to South Africans, Americans and Australians. For those donations please contact me directly.
Visit Our Horn is Not Medicine’s Facebook and Instagram pages to stay up to date with any news.

Please get in touch with me if you have any questions on OHNM and the campaigns we are running lyammin@sawc.org.za

News from the African Intergenerational Leadership Hub

One of the many stand-out issues emerging for conservation leaders enrolled in the African Intergenerational Leadership Hub’s conservation and sustainability focused programme, is that conservationists realise the need for collaboration with communities.
 
‘They know that “going it alone” is not an effective strategy. They wrestle hugely with the “how” with the communities in the areas they work in,’ noted Elsbeth Dixon from leadership development organisation, Common Purpose, adding that when they have had community contributors on the programme, ‘it has been a very powerful conversation, with them learning and deriving insight from each other.’
 
The African Intergenerational Leadership Hub is a collaborative initiative between the Southern African Wildlife College, the Environmental Sustainability Agency (ESA) and Common Purpose, supported by the Mava Foundation and Peace Parks.
 
Having completed the accelerator and leadership foundation phase of the Conservation Leaders Programme participants recently gathered virtually to help each other practice new learnings from the first two modules.
 
You can see the leaders who were selected to participate here and here.
 
The selected leaders are now in the phase in which they work to integrate their new thinking and skills into their workplace and life practice. The inter- and intra-generational peer coaching groups continue to provide a support structure during this period of experimentation and learning.
 
Hailing from organisations across Africa, participants have access to different perspectives, organisations and ideas on leadership. ‘We’re very proud of the quality of the leaders participating, and their willingness to engage, grow and learn. These skills are critical, and so is the learning that happens between the participants, as they realise they are part of a network and can access its wisdom, rather than struggling alone,’ says ESA’s Clive Poultney.
 
Look out for more insights from this year’s process on social media as the group enters its final months of the programme.

The AIGLH has also recently completed community leadership programmes in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal and the North West provinces of South Africa.
 
You can see the videos from there engagements here and here.  

As with the conservation leadership programme, the Common Purpose team identified many  key learnings from working with community leaders. One of them was that young leaders value being heard. ‘The fact that they are listened to by senior leaders and even observe senior leaders coming round to their point of view is so important for them. It’s also important for the senior leaders to have an opportunity to speak frankly about their experience of younger people, and listen to each other. It has been fascinating to see how, given the right communication environment, they “find each other”,’ notes Dixon, adding that having members of the tribal council as participants was a big win, ‘so that they can spot the young talent and incorporate them into structures.

Learn more about the AIGLH initiative
HR NEWS

The Protection of Personal Information
(POPI) Act


By Lesley Greyling - HR : Associate/Consultant

POPI is shorthand for the Protection of Personal Information Act No. 4 of 2013. Signed into law on November 19, 2013, parts of the law became effective on April 11, 2014. The President proclaimed the effective date of the POPI Act to be 1 July 2020. When the Act became formal law 1 July 2020, it included a grace period of 12 months for businesses to update their systems.
 
In essence, POPI applies conditions for the lawful processing of personal data of South Africans (both South African citizens and those living in South Africa).
 
As with all legislation, the College will comply with all requirements, and to this end has not only appointed this team to manage POPI, but has an overarching policy governing the collation, keeping and destruction/de-identification of information at the college. All Information and Deputy Information officers have been offered training to fully understand the POPI Act, and all employee contracts and service level agreements have been updated with clauses to ensure compliance to legislation, and informed consent of data subjects. The Registrar has updated many student forms and all departments are re-looking at their data collation and record keeping principles and policies.
 
The implementation of this Act will affect any social media sites the college has, and our website will ask users to consent to our privacy policy, and to read what that policy is.
 
Learn more
The POPI (Protection of Personal Information) Act  comes into full effect from the 01 July 2021. In compliance we hereby afford you the opportunity to unsubscribe from our emails. 
 
If you have not unsubscribed, thanks for opting in. Bear in mind that every one of our emails contain an unsubscribe link at the bottom. You can opt out at any time.
 
We would like to assure you that we have taken the necessary steps to protect how your data is used, stored and processed. Thank you for your continued support.

Departmental and Staff updates


Changes in respect of training departments where functions have been streamlined and are now more in line with Higher Education and Training Institutions and required functions:
 

Research and Development (under which our Applied Learning Unit is now incorporated)

Prof. Alan Gardiner       Head: Research & Development  

Dr. Cleo Graf                   Manager: Research & Development 

Dr. Yolanda Pretorius    Manager: Curriculum & Training Development     

Karl Ferreira                    IT DevOps and Database Administrator: R & D 

Nandi Thobela                Manager: Conservation Software 

Peter Hamming              Researcher 

Clifford Nxumalo            YES intern: Field Assistant 
 

Student Administration and Programme Support (Previously Academic Policy and Sector Advancement) 

Ashwell Glasson              Registrar 

Sensizwe Morale             Learner Management System Administrator 

Daphne Gengayan          Learning Resources Officer 

Grace Ndlovu                   Student Database Administrator 

Freddy Nukeri                  Learning Resources Assistant  

Rejoyce Mhdlovu            Student Support Officer

 

Quality Management and Accreditation  (Previously Academic Support and Quality Assurance)

Anelle Rautenbach          Head: Quality Management & Accreditation 
 

RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Navigating the language
barrier SMART-ly

 By Peter Hamming – Researcher

“Campamento”…”não temos”, “Laco armadilha”… “temos”. Do you “comprende”? Me neither, at first. These words have become very familiar during my time giving SMART training to rangers in the Zambezi Delta. The Zambezi Delta is a 1.2 million ha area in Mozambique with sand forests, grasslands, swamps and floodplains. It is a fertile area that supports large numbers of animals. In the forest, you can walk into a tiny Suni or Red Duiker while the floodplains and swamps are teeming with herds of buffalo, elephant, majestic sables and many more. This vast area is under pressure from human exploitation for charcoal, bush meat, homesteads, and farming.
READ MORE
QUALITY MANAGEMENT & ACCREDITATION
By Anelle Rautenbach - Head: Quality Management and Accreditation

Activities this month revolved around gathering evidence for the reaccreditation upload to the Higher Education Quality Council. The College is currently in a cycle where the institution must submit evidence to prove that we still comply with requirements.
 
The re-accreditation submission focused on the following eight areas:
  • Programme design and student admission
  • Staffing and infrastructure
  • Teaching and learning interactions
  • Assessment practices
  • Programme coordination and review
  • Academic development including student support
  • Coordination of work-based learning
  • Student throughput and retention rates
The relevant evidence and policies were interrogated to determine whether required standards were met. For each section, an analytical and reflective summary had to be developed against minimum criteria. The criteria included programme accreditation, assessment in higher education, level descriptors and good higher education practice. Thereafter a narrative had to be provided that demonstrated integrated management of the programme quality, at a programme level and at an institutional level.
STUDENT AND PROGRAMME SUPPORT

By Ashwell Glasson - Registrar

Our Advanced Certificate students have been hard at work and are currently completing their Environmental Development Planning module. This is a particularly challenging module as it draws environmental management issues into the conservation sphere. The students have been hard at work studying and writing exams, so the College gave them a bit of break by taking them out on a game-drive.


Our student group includes students from Malawi, Zambia, Namibia, Eastern Cape Province, Northern Cape Province, Mpumalanga Province and Limpopo Province. They are all bursary students and work in conservation and ecotourism jobs at various state agencies.

Many people do not realize that although we are a training college, we have a fully-fledged maintenance and hospitality department offering meals, accommodation and infrastructure development training on site. This enables our students, especially our guiding and eco-tourism students to learn many of their practical skills in the eco-tourism context by being exposed to hospitality, maintenance and other key operations.

This has also now enabled our Youth Access Bridging course students funded by the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust, Friends of African Wildlife, Distell Limited and the Timbavati Foundation to complete their work placement requirements with the College. This is largely as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and staff cut-backs in the tourism sector, which meant that they could not intern at a nearby lodge or wildlife tourism establishment. In working at the College across various departments they are picking up the much-needed practical skills.

With the reality that many prospective Field Rangers come from poverty-stricken backgrounds, Altin Gysman who runs our Protected Area Integrity (PAI) field ranger training unit expressed the need to assist the trainees. We knew things were tough but many of these students arrive for the selection carrying one set of clothes in a shopping packet and wearing inappropriate well-trodden shoes or worn slops/flip-flops. As a result, the Student and Programme Support team decided to spring into action to garner support for this initiative.

It is often the smallest of things that can make a world of difference to a trainee. They undergo an arduous selection process and then an intensive paramilitary training programme for six weeks. Essentially their basic training. These are then the men and women who will ultimately be protecting our wildlife across southern Africa in different parks and reserves. They work in trying conditions, in the heat of summer and in the dry cold winters. They are the thin green line and our boots on the ground in the fight against poaching and wildlife crime.

After chatting to a close friend, Ian Calaca, he offered to speak to his connections and friends in Johannesburg to see what could be done. I was truly surprised by the enthusiasm of so many people. Shoes of all kinds were dropped off and collected by Ian and his friends for me to bring back to our ranger training team.
Many others including the College staff also jumped in to help. A sincere word of gratitude goes out to Lee-Anne Yammin, Justine Maluleka, Jenny Maccallum, Dr Kris Goodwin, Chetsin Ramjee, Gavin Calaca, Brett Simmons, Marine van der Linde and so many more.

These fantastic people have made a world of difference as you can see below. We have enough shoes for the moment but will be continuing our #shoesforrangers campaign, so please contact us should you wish to assist.
Contact us #shoesforrangers
NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

ADVANCED CERTIFICATE LEVEL 6 – TRANSFRONTIER CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT

 
By Marion Bourn - Facilitator/Moderator: Natural Resource Management Programmes
 
The class of 2021 is represented by twenty students from Eastern Cape Tourism and Parks Agency, Mpumalanga Tourism and Park Agency, South African National Parks, Department of National Parks and Wildlife in Malawi, and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in Namibia.
 
The Level 6 students have finished nine training modules to date and were in a fortunate position, especially given the Covid-19 pandemic, to be permitted to go on practical field trips. In Biodiversity Management and Catchment Management they collected various datasets regarding fauna, flora, geology, hydrology and soils. This data was compiled and analysed in their training block assignments in preparation for the Work Integrated Learning components that each students has to complete for each training module.
 
As part of their Environmental Development Planning training assignment the students did an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which the students found informative and challenging. This EIA training will assist them in monitoring and implementing EIA’s in their daily work functions once they return to their reserves.

ALUMNI OBITUARY NOTICE

It is with a very sad heart that the College advises on the passing of one of our alumni from the Zambian Department of National Parks and Wildlife Services in a car accident. Monde Monde was operational in Sioma Ngwezi National Park and completed both the Higher and Advanced Certificate in Natural Resource Management in 2015 and 2016 respectively. A well-respected student, Monde will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Our sincere condolences to his family, colleagues and friends. May he RIP.
PROTECTED AREA INTEGRITY

FIELD RANGER TRAINING

By Altin Gysman - Head: Protected Area Integrity Department

The Protected Area Integrity Area Unit’s African Field Ranger Training Services division, is currently in 14-day Level 4 lockdown as promulgated by government. We have the following courses that will start from 19 July 2021 depending on any further announcements from the office of the President: Field Ranger Law Enforcement Armed for Johannesburg City Parks, Field Ranger Advanced for the Game Ranger’s Association of Africa (GRAA), Patrol Leaders for WWF-South Africa (Kwa-Zulu Natal) as well as Braveheart Ranger Leadership Development for WWF-South Africa (KHETA). Our Specialist Instructor will also start with the GLFTCA SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) training in the Kruger National Park.

Field Ranger Law Enforcement Armed Course


On 17 May 2021, 12 students started a field ranger armed course at the SAWC. The group comprised 11 males and one female. Four learners were sponsored by Italtile and Ceramic Foundation Trust, two (2) were from Balule game reserve, two (2) from Babanango Game Reserve, one (1) from the SAWC and three (3) privately enrolled. 

Every day started with strenuous physical training, uncompromising and high precision drill which formed the foundation of discipline and teamwork, physical fitness and teamwork.

“Our days would then move to the classroom where we learned different crafts both theoretical and practical. These were among others, personal hygiene, working in a team, financial planning weapon handling, weapon - training (AIM training academy), field skills like camouflage and concealment, survival, types of formations, arrest procedures, tracking, basic human rights. How to treat informers, and the art of putting organizational goals first,” said one of the trainees.
Our trainers were: Mr Morné Jewell who was responsible for the teaching and application of theory in the field. Mr Gert Dibakoane (Corporal) was responsible for physical training, uncompromising and high precision drill. which formed the foundation of discipline teamwork and physical fitness.

In these six weeks the SAWC has empowered us with the basic skills that will enable us to make a difference in not to wildlife and the conservation thereof but in every other aspect of our lives. It is our responsibility to go into the world and build on this unshakable foundation so generously given to us. Thank you to all the role players, sponsors, parents, managers, and teachers.
 
To SAWC and the team, “KEEP ON CHANGING LIVES AND KEEP ON GOING BEYOND BOUNDARIES.”

Trainee Reviews - Field Ranger
Advanced Course

We would like to give thanks for the opportunity given to us as Mkhuze Game Reserve Field Rangers as we have obtained more knowledge, theory and practical training to do our jobs. This learning programme will play a big role in our organisations and in our careers.
This learning programme carries water and it will play a big role in our success and that of our organisations. With the skills and knowledge we acquired on the course, we can now go on to share this with our team members in our workplace.
READ MORE

You’re the best!!!


Article submitted by ‘Unarmed Field Ranger Course” Trainees

We can’t express how grateful we are. As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.

To be awarded this role of a field ranger is a great honour and privilege, so thank you to the Southern African Wildlife College for making this possible. Another big thank you to our employers for making this possible for all of us. You believed in us before we could believe in ourselves. Your thoughtful, kind and gesture certainly made us who we are today.

To our facilitators, instructors and commanders we appreciate, as always you going an extra mile, unwrapping and sharing your knowledge and skills definitely made our stay and our completion of the course successful. Without you we wouldn’t have made it. The time and effort you’ve invested ensures that the students that come to the wildlife college have access to effective programmes and resources. That is a priceless gift. Thank you for the hard lessons. They were needed for our development. We are grateful for this opportunity- opportunity to take our lives to a whole new level. And grateful for the mental strength we have been given to survive hard times.

It was not an easy ride but would also like to thank the kitchen staff for taking care of us and making sure we were all well fed. There were certainly ample difficulties and obstacles along the way. Some broke us to the point that we were ready to give up but something inside of us gave us hope and the willpower to continue. We thank ourselves for focusing on the goal and not the hurdles. We thank ourselves for believing we can make it.

The Southern African Wildlife College continues to produce great, fit field rangers. Your passion and dedication is greatly appreciated. Life is energy and we know we are so much more than our physical body.

K9 UNIT

By Precious Malapane - Deployment Manager and Dog Trainer

It is an honour to see the fruits of our labour pay off. The SAWC recently sent four of our incredibly well trained hounds to Tanzania, where they will be working to help fight in the battle against the brutal onslaught of the continents last rhino as well as other threatened species.

Special thanks goes out to our donors who support our dogs, as without them this would not be possible; Ivan Carter Wildlife Alliance, Friends of African Wildlife, International Rhino Foundation, Tusk Trust, Pack Leader Pet Products, Our Horn is NOT Medicine donors and MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet Rhino FundBlankets for Baby Rhinos, Hudson Park Primary School as well as the many individual donors who contribute to this special cause.

Volvo, Shaya, John and Jet we will certainly miss you but know you will do us proud in your new home and area of operation. Go well!!!

Handler & Hound Training for Sabi Sands




The K9 Unit continues to provide vital training to both hounds and handlers for the Sabi Sands. In May 2021 Maleyana Pritchard joined us from Sabi Sands to become an effective dog handler. He works with Ika a Dutch Shepherd, who is a detection dog, trained to sniff out rhino horn, pangolin shell, ivory and ammunition. She is an absolutely amazing dog to work with an incredible nose and a great “soft stop”.

We are very proud that she will go to help fight in the war against poaching. Go well girl, and enjoy your new home in the Sabi Sands with Maleyana.

Pups on the go


The puppies, which were born on 22 April 2021 at the K9 unit, are progressing very well and are currently being socialized. With parents like Edna and Bandit, both excellent tracking dogs, they are already showing great potential and love to be out in the field.

Says Jeanné Poutney, “In support of the K9 unit, we were recently approached by the Hudson Park Primary School who wanted to help raise funds for the unit.” After chatting about various support options, one of the pups has been “adopted” and named “Hudson” as part of a school initiative to help support conservation causes. In this case rhino protection. Hudson is the only male amongst the litter of eight pups and the school has already started a number of initiatives to help raise funds and also inform the grades involved about rhino and the threats that they are currently facing.




The “Hudson Hound Fund” campaign kicked off with the introduction to the SAWC’s K9 unit and Hudson the pup, which also included a rhino colouring-in competition. This is now being followed by a Civvies day including a R5 donation for Rhino Awareness.
The SAWC’s reach into the hearts and minds of school children in the Eastern Cape is certainly a privilege to be involved in, especially as this relationship - which will be a long term one -  is designed not only to help raise funds but also to inform and educate young children about the challenges being faced in conservation, certainly speaks to the SAWC’s brand essence of “Training beyond Boundaries”.

AERIAL SUPPORT UNIT

By Bruce McDonald - Pilot: SAWC Airwing

Our Savannah aircraft played a valuable role on 24 June 2021 in locating a young orphaned rhino whose mother was shot by poachers. The five-month old calf was left alone and defenceless, but is now fortunately in the care of Care for Wild. On arrival he had to be placed in the intensive care unit where he was monitored and cared for throughout the night. The SAWC’s Airwing has become a vital tool in rhino protection in our focus area and has saved many of these helpless orphans.

“This just drives me more and more. Without us and the support of our donors these calves are so helpless. I will never give up on trying to make a difference,” said SAWC Pilot, Bruce McDonald.   

Our Airwing has also recently been involved in a number of rhino dehorning operations including those on the property on which the College operates. Early in June, the team managed to dehorn a white rhino cow with two calves. This is a rare sight but the cow has accepted an orphan whose mother was poached, and which she is also now raising.

“This is the very essence of why we work so hard ‘to do conservation’, it is these moments – the moments in wild places that we are trying to conserve – no matter how hard we work, no matter how many hours we put in, a few moments like these feeds the soul in such a special way that you say to yourself, ‘yes its worth every second’, with the end result being more wildlife in healthier ecosystems,” said Ivan Carter.

The dehorning is taking place in the hopes that we are protecting these and other rhino from being poached. The Ivan Carter Wildlife Conservation Alliance and its supporters funded this operation, and we are most grateful for their ongoing support.

COMMUNITY AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

Natural Resource Management – Level 5


By Christopher Kafoteka - Head: Community and Youth Development Department

The Community and Youth Development Department has shown resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic. The SADC based Level 5 students from the Natural Resource Management, Terrestrial Class that could not complete the training in 2020 as a result of borders being closed returned to campus during the Easter break, having completed the first modules early in 2020. Together with the 2021 enrollments, we anticipate 26 students graduating this year.

The countries represented on the programme include South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and the DRC. The students represent South African National Parks, Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA), African Parks, Limpopo Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET), Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Zambian Wildlife Authority through the Franfurt Zoological Society; all of whom are committed to upskilling some of their employees in the field of natural resource management, terrestrial. Private organisations include; Wits Rural Facility and the Umgano Forestry in KwaZulu Natal that sent their staff for training as well.

The Natural Resource Management class has been doing well during the contact training and we anticipate that the students will complete the contact session in August before students are deployed to their work places for the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) component of the qualification. Only students that successfully complete the contact session as well as the WIL will successfully graduate. Those not yet competent will need to repeat the required modules in the next academic year.

Resource Guardianship Level 2 Groups


The Resource Guardians at Level 2 on the National Qualifications Framework provide the Department with the majority of its students. Two groups on the Resource Guardianship programme have been sponsored by the Department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development (DARDLR). The groups comprise 50 students who have been deployed to LEDET Reserves. Another group group of 22 students, sponsored by the National Skills Fund, will be deployed to MTPA’s Nature Reserves for a period of three months. Both groups completed the contact training in the second quarter before the students were deployed for a workplace integrated learning experience. The two groups complete their qualifications in July and October respectively.

Youth Access Bridging Programme


The Department will with the support of its donors be rolling the Youth Access Bridging Course training into the third quarter of the year.

The bridging course, which was piloted in 2010 with the support of the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust, was designed to enable school leavers from historically disadvantaged communities to bridge into the conservation sector. Further support for the course was garnered following the pilot and the course was successfully run over the next ten years bridging students into careers as environmental educators and field rangers or providing them with access to further study having now gained the necessary credits on the National Qualifications Framework.

Given that the College’s training is needs based, the approach to the programme changed in 2020 in response to requests from the guiding industry to up skill previously disadvantaged youth into guiding positions with the tourism sector. Citing deficiencies in communication and mathematical literacy levels at the time of leaving secondary schools, the Foundational Learning Competency (FLC) Certificate was the first answer offered by SAWC to address this gap. Successful learners who were competent and who showed proficiency and a real interest in pursuing a career in the guiding sector would then advance to complete the FGASA Level 1 Apprentice Field Guide Course. The Guide training programme is three months in duration and the idea was to then place learners with commercial tourism operators and lodges for a six-month Guiding Internship.

The 2020 Apprentice Field Guide Level 2 course was also originally designed as a contact course but due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the training restrictions placed on the College, the programme changed to allow for on-line tutoring.  The training was thus changed to a full time on-line course, the development of which was supported by the MAVA Foundation, in line with FGASA requirements in terms of the theory exam.  It was however agreed that greater interventions from the trainers was needed and as such this took place on site. A basic Computer Literacy programme was also set up to prepare the youth on the FGASA online programme.

The "hybrid" Guide training programme was well reviewed by the trainees and some adjustments have been made. The time frame required that the students do part of the theory and the practical skills training concurrently. This approach is not normally used but this was negotiated successfully. The skills assessment was necessarily done over three periods which required extra investment in short refresher sessions for the candidates. The majority of learners also had to re-register for the exams after not meeting the required 75% pass rate at an additional cost. These costs were fortunately covered by additional contributions from selected donors. 

Whilst the training has now been completed with nine of the ten students selected for the guiding component having passed all requirements, further interventions have been required to try and ensure that the learners have the best chance of entering the sector. This despite the collapse of the tourism sector as a result of travel restrictions. In support of the student internship requirements, funding has kindly been granted by Italtile and Ceramic Foundation Trust in support of the students now interning at the College.
Our thanks must also be extended to the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust who continues to support the Youth Access Bridging Programme, as well as to Friends of African Wildlife, the Timbavati Foundation and Distell Limited for their support of the programme during these trying times.

With the tourism sector still under recovery, the 2021 Youth Access programme has again, been modified to try and ensure that the learners are provided with job opportunities on completion of the programme and that the programme is based on the needs of the industry. 
RURAL INITIATIVES FOR A SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT (RISE) UNIT

Rising up - Coaching Conservation Kicks off

By Sboniso Phakathi - Project Leader: RISE

After much anticipation and excitement from the local schools, The Investec funded Coaching Conservation (CC) programme kicked off on 17 May with Muchuchi Primary School. The coaches were in high spirits ready to deliver the lessons, and the children were colorful and sprightly in their rebranded apparel. The team however only managed to deliver one lesson as the COVID-19 protocols for schools’ contacts sports were once again adjusted on 20 May with contact sports being temporarily suspended. This programme has, like many activities involving large groups, been subject to delays since the pandemic hit in 2020.  The College’s team of coaches do however remain committed and eager to see this programme resumed before the end of the year.
 
READ MORE

Telling Tales of the Old


The age-old practice of telling stories, is said to be one of the most effective tools in ensuring that the detail in our history is never lost. Very rarely do the local tales of times gone-by get told by the people who lived them, and are often lost in time and translation. In May, the SAWC was visited by John Yeld, a seasoned journalist commissioned by the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust. John’s purpose of visiting the College was to write up the history of the now late Mr Hans Hoheisen, the man and his legacy. In terms of the College’s history, Hans Hoheisen was an instrumental force and a visionary in the area on which the Southern African Wildlife College was established, having donated the land to College founder WWF-South Africa. The trust which is foundered in his name, has since the College’s inception remained one of its donors, and is a long-time supporter of its programmes including the Youth Access bridging programme, which is designed to bridge youth from local communities into the conservation sector.  

A great opportunity arose as part of this story telling journey, when the SAWC was tasked with helping to find people who possibly worked with Hans, or had a good historical knowledge of the area, or who being veterans had possibly worked with Hans on his various farms. Jeanné Poultney, who heads up the SAWC’s Marketing, Fundraising and Media Relations department and whom initially engaged with John Yeld on these needs, came up with some contacts and then also chatted to our Community Liaison Officer, Professor Mtungwa. Was she delighted to hear that Professor’s grandfather, James Mtungwa, who still lives within the neighboring Mnisi village, worked with Hans Hoheisen from 1950 to 1979! As the story goes, James worked with Hans on Albatross farm, Birmingham, Kempiana, Morgan Zone and later moved with Hans, leaving the village roads of Mpumalanga for Stellenbosch in the Cape. We look forward to seeing the write up that will come of this interaction and conversation with the local walking encyclopedia in James Mtungwa.

This has also set light to an idea which the College’s Marketing and Fundraising department hope to pursue in terms of honouring the SAWC’s history with the community.
RESPONSIBLE RESOURCE USE (RRU)

A workable alternative to
patchwork/mosaic burning

By Pieter Nel - Senior Trainer: Responsible Resource Use

The last fifteen years has seen an increase in popularity of patchwork, or mosaic, burning in preference to the traditional block burning.  The main argument in favour of mosaic burns is that cool fires are less destructive, and a more diverse landscape is created with the resulting animal diversity cited as being a major upside. All of this true.
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OPERATIONS

MAINTENANCE 

By Michael Gardiner - Manager: Operations

The college was blessed with a good Rainy season this past year, which resulted in the grass coverage being lush around the campus during the summer months. This howeve presented a major fire risk during the winter months and our maintenance team swung into action to get the fuel load under control with cutting of the grass being done continuously for two weeks.
 
The campus was divided into three sections and three teams were formed from the maintenance department to cut the grass, the teams jostled with each other as to which team would finish first which created a bit of fun out of a mundane task.  Sections of the veld outside the campus fence were also  to alleviate the threat of fire from the predominant fire risk areas.
 
Four of our classrooms are now off the utility power supply grid and are now being supplied with solar power, this being kindly funded by GIZ. As result there will be no interruption in classes when load shedding is experienced – something which we South African have had to get used to from an electricity supply point of view. The savings on electricity consumption is a most welcome benefit as well.
 

GENERAL NEWS

Long haul flight lands up at the College

 
By Anelle Rautenbach - Head: Quality Management and Accreditation
 
Travel agent Patrick Wright who assists the Ivan Carter Wildlife Conservation Alliance, one of our valued core donors, with its travel arrangements wanted to experience a flight to a long-haul destination himself. This after the USA opened direct flights to South Africa for the first time since the 2020 lockdown.
 
Patrick has travelled extensively and with Ivan’s encouragement, he took this opportunity to visit the Southern African Wildlife College for the first time. He was joined by his sister Michaela and brother Brandon. We had great fun hosting the three siblings, and judging by the non-stop laughing and action photos, it looks like they had a blast too. We certainly are looking forward to sharing the College with our international donors and other visitors again soon!

Getting an insight into the work we do

 
By Scott Yammin - Junior Lecturer/ Trainer: Responsible Resource Use

I was with Patrick, Brandon and Michaela Wright for a game drive as well as their Rhino tagging and de-horning activity. It was a pleasure to guide these friends of the Ivan Carter Wildlife Conservation Alliance around Kempiana as well as guide them through this sad but needed de-horning experience.

The Savanah aircraft, flown by Bruce and Theresa, was able to locate a beautiful large White Rhino cow with two young bull calves from the air early on Wednesday morning. After a brisk drive to the location, the Wrights, along with the rest of the ground crew were in place to successfully dehorn all three animals. What was special about this particular dehorning is that in a previous operation, an orphaned young bull had been sighted on property wandering around by himself; and as it transpires has consequently been adopted by this large female. It was inspiring to see the look of emotion on Patrick, Michaela and Brandon’s faces as all three animals disappeared back into the wilderness after a successful operation. Thanks to our hospitality department, we enjoyed a delicious brunch in the bush pub thereafter.

Out of adversity come strength


Brad Craven - Director and Founder of WFAW Warriors for African Wildlife

I served in the U.S. Navy for 4 years 2003-2007 deploying to Iraq and Korea. When I returned home I struggled as many Veterans do. I coached and trained my younger brother Sam who has Cerebral Palsy and slight autism in the seated shot put and discus in the Paralympics. Sam won gold and silver medals in the 2011 Parapan Games. Because of Sam’s Cerebral Palsy and the constant pressure from throwing heavy weights Sam’s throwing hip degenerated rather quickly to the point where he now needs a hip replacement at 34. Sam no longer could compete. Along with my struggles and PTSD, from Iraq I felt guilty about my brother as if I had let him down somehow. I still care for my brother when I’m home and we still work out together, and he has actually helped me train for Warriors for African Wildlife’s first deployment with the College.
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FIELD NEWS

By Scott Yammin - Junior Lecturer/ Trainer: Responsible Resource Use

Winter is in full swing now and the bush is a gorgeous russet and golden colour. There is still plenty of water around from the good summer rains and the grazing continues to be substantial for some of the large herbivores. A breeding herd of Cape buffalo has recently spent some time around the college frequently a nearby water hole. A few evening ago, guide students were fortunate to experience a male leopard feeding on an impala carcass in a Marula tree whilst out on a training drive.

On the birding front, we have been fortunate to monitor a pair of Black Winged Kites that have nested close to the college grounds. There are two chicks currently in the nest and they will soon fledge. The adults are a regular sight in the area whilst out in the field. The cooler days make winter an incredible time to experience the bushveld and we look forward to being out in the bush in July and August.

That's it for this issue of The Bateleur. Thank you for reading! 

Issued by: The Southern African Wildlife College 
Contact: Jeanné Poultney / Executive Manager: Marketing, Fundraising and Media Relations
Tel: 
+27(11) 7044386  / Mobile: +27(82) 4582845
Email: jpoultney@sawc.org.za
SAWC Direct Line: +27 (15) 7937300
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