Wildlife College Trust celebrates milestones

2016-10-18 06:00
Theresa Sowry, Southern African Wildlife College CEO, with Lesley Richardson, Southern African Wildlife College Trust chairperson.

Theresa Sowry, Southern African Wildlife College CEO, with Lesley Richardson, Southern African Wildlife College Trust chairperson.

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The Southern African Wildlife College Trust and its founder trustee, Countess Sylvia Labia, held an event for supporters and donors on Tuesday 4 October at the Casa Labia Cultural Centre in Muizenberg.

The Trust, which was established in 2000 and is administered by WWF South Africa, has awarded over 50 highly prized, accredited higher education and training scholarships and bursaries to people working in conservation across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region over the years.

These people, who would otherwise not be afforded this opportunity, attend the college to acquire the latest skills needed to deal with the formidable challenges facing conservation today. In addition, the trust has funded various projects at the college and also put its weight behind the college’s acquisition of a well-recognised anti-poaching training unit.

The celebratory event marked a number of special milestones including what would have been well-known businessman, philanthropist and conservationist Dr Anton Rupert’s 100th birthday.

“The late Dr Rupert was instrumental in getting the trust off the ground when he approached Countess Labia to act on his progressive idea of establishing a trust fund to help provide funding for education in nature conservation,” says Lesley Richardson, chairperson of the trust.

“With the support of its donors, the trust has to date raised a noteworthy R30m to help sustain the work of the Southern African Wildlife College,” she adds.

The college, which is situated in the Greater Kruger National Park, was established in 1996 by WWF South Africa in close cooperation with interested and affected parties, including national and provincial government departments, SADC and other conservation agencies.

It has trained over 14 000 custodians of Africa’s wildlife, its purpose being to build the capacity of professionals in the field of environmental and conservation management and to train a new generation of natural heritage and wildlife managers.

Built in 1929, Casa Labia was the former Muizenberg residence of Count and Countess Natale Labia and is today a national monument and multifunctional cultural centre.

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