PHASA have held a gala fundraising dinner for the past four years, with all money raised through a wide selection of sought after auction items being donated directly to the College for the training of natural resource managers from across southern Africa.
"This is always a great conservation event, where wilderness and wildlife protection are the true winners on the night. We are overwhelmed with the amount of money raised and can guarantee the students who will benefit from coming to the College will be getting the best training and management skills possible and the cause of conservation will be spread further through southern Africa." said Theresa Sowry, executive manager - training from SAWC.
The event this year - held at the Sandton Sun Conference Centre in Johannesburg - more than doubled the amount raised last year and means that many more students will be able to attend courses at the College and take their new skills and experience back to their protected areas around the region.
The guest speaker on the evening was professional hunter Coenraad Vermaak, who amused the audience with stories of days gone by across Africa, but reminded everyone of the need for conservation and protection of our natural heritage and the animals and environments of Africa.
Items donated for the auction included hunting packages, accommodation packages at top lodges in South Africa and abroad, rare jewelry and paintings and a four ball at the exclusive Leopards Creek Country Club.
Top bids were for a white rhino hunt in North West Province, which brought in R520,000 and two lion hunts which went for more than R300,000 each.
The Southern African Wildlife College trains natural resource managers from around Africa in the expertise required to manage protected areas effectively. By providing training in skills as diverse as anti-poaching techniques, fire management, infrastructure development, geographic information systems and computer skills, and community liaison, the College is passing on the knowledge needed to sustainably conserve national parks and reserves and the animals, plants and people who depend on the parks for survival.
The College was established 12 years ago by WWF-SA and Peace Parks Foundation and to date has trained more than 3000 students who have continued on to become Protected Area Managers, Community Extension Officers, field guides, game rangers, and tourism officials.