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Stop the poaching!

Categories: ALL THE NEWS , Animal Welfare
It’s all about investing in conservation through education.

The rhino is on the IUCN red list and critically endangered. Rhino poaching is an immediate and growing global concern.  Rhino poachers killed at least 448 rhinos for their horns in 2011 alone. While this statistic is shocking and remains a serious cause for concern, the losses are far greater when the numbers of orphaned and injured rhino calves that have not been successfully rehabilitated back into the wild are added to the equation. 

At Eco Academy, we are addressing the challenges of environmental leadership through our campus operations and our teaching, research and student activities.  As an incentive to successful students and part of an effort to increase anti-poaching success, the Eco Academy directors pledge to train one anti-poaching ranger for each successful ‘one year’ or ‘gap year’ graduate, free of any training fees.

A leader in eco and wildlife education

Eco Academy is a leader in providing quality eco and wildlife education in Africa and is positioned to be the benchmark Eco and Wildlife educational academy globally.

The Academy offers amongst others, a one-year Nature Guiding/Field Guide Course and GAP year courses, which will commence in March and July 2012, respectively.

The demand for tertiary education has increased dramatically over the past few years. Since January 2012, it was widely reported that more than a third of candidates who passed Matric last year or 118,117 school leavers would not be able to enrol for tertiary education, nor are they likely to get jobs.

One of the greatest tasks for society is to equip young adults with the attitudes, values, knowledge and skills necessary to become leaders of the future”, said Piet de Clerk, MD of Eco Academy.

Environmental education is vitally important for this. Yet, there has been a major absence from curriculum theory, policy and practice of approaches that stress environmental perspectives”.

Creating positive change

“We believe that through environmental education we can create positive change for better futures, whilst offering successful students an opportunity to invest in the training of anti-poaching teams”, continued Piet.

Eco Academy sets a high bar for its eco and wildlife conservation programs, and high expectations for its participants. The programs demand a great deal from both the lecturer who create and deliver the courses aligned with curriculum, and customised when required, and the students who participate.  Once enrolled, students are immersed in education and training that will challenge their assumptions, disrupt their ordinary ways of living, and introduce them to new and unexpected ways of thinking. By participating, they will prepare for the next steps in their careers and lives demonstrating leadership at the Academy, in their classes and among their peers. Most important, they will return to their own communities with fresh ideas, new skills, and a greater capacity for addressing challenges faced.

Professional skills

The professional integrated training expose all students to non-traditional coursework and develop essential professional skills to produce graduates to bridge the science–management gap and promote the sustainable conservation of natural resources.  The academy is located on the game farm XINZELE, Klaserie (close to Hoedspruit), Limpopo province, South Africa in close proximity of the Kruger National Park.  At most education institutions, the campus is merely a backdrop to the program. The Eco Academy campus is an integral and deeply rewarding part of the Eco Academy experience - the Eco Academy campus offers students a unique and vast ‘classroom’.

Learn more about the environment

The Academy’s One-Year Nature Guiding (Field Guide) course and GAP year courses have been developed to offer local and international students the opportunity to learn more about the environment and to prepare themselves for a possible future in guiding or conservation. Eco Academy equips participants with life skills to empower them to contribute towards a better global environment.  All educational and training programs adhere to prescribed curricula and are approved by educational authorities in South Africa.  JC Strauss, Director of Operations and Training commented: “The illegal trafficking of wildlife now ranks as the 3rd largest criminal industry in the world. The current situation, fed by greed and destruction, is far greater than the resources deployed to fight it. Education plays a significant role in deterring and combating the destructive nature that poaching and poachers are having on the world’s most sacred wildlife and environments”.

In 2005 – 2007, JC trained and developed 350 Wildlife Rangers for Limpopo Parks Board in South Africa and headed the Anti-Poaching teams covering 53 Protected Areas that brought down rhino and elephant poaching to 0% for three consecutive years.  In 2000 JC launched Eco Ranger, training Wildlife Rangers, Dangerous Game Guides for various Wildlife Parks and organisations such as the South African Wildlife College and Game Rangers Associations. The first 34 Women Wildlife Rangers for African Countries (Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya, Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa) were trained by JC’s organisation Eco Ranger. Eco Ranger has thus far trained more than a 1,000 Rangers and Wildlife Guides that created job opportunities that support and sustain more than 10,000 African people currently.

“Our ‘Investing in Conservation through Education’ incentive offers all successful Eco Academy students an opportunity to enjoy an immediate investment as an environmental leader”, JC stated.

For more information go to http://www.ecoacademy.co.za

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