The Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) is a registered and accredited private, independent, non-profit higher education and training institution specialising in conservation training and skills development. It was established in 1996 by the World Wide Fund for Nature – South Africa in close cooperation with interested and affected parties across the region including national and provincial departments, other conservation agencies and organisations together with the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
As a recognised SADC centre of specialization, the SAWC trains conservation personnel and communities living within and around conservation areas across the region. The training covers the full spectrum of skills needed, thereby equipping people with the necessary skills to deal with the key challenges facing conservation today.
Conservation organisations and agencies require well-trained field rangers, natural resource managers and researchers across the African region and beyond given the pivotal role they play in terms of managing, rehabilitating and sustaining Africa’s wildlife areas and wild spaces. In developing and empowering their staff, they are able to help protect the biodiversity of our planet through the active conservation of landscapes via regenerative land practices, the protection of targeted species and the restoration of degraded ecosystems.
In addressing current conservation challenges via its training mandate, the SAWC has internalized a learning-by-doing and holistic approach for improved conservation practice and impact. Based on the training needs of the industry, the SAWC comprises three training departments: Responsible Resource Management (Natural Resource Management), Community and Youth Development (including the RISE unit), and Protected Area Integrity. The latter comprises a field ranger training unit, a K9 unit and an aerial support unit.
Also, in recognition of the important role that communities play in the sustainable management of natural resources, the College is actively involved in engagement, capacity building and enterprise development at a local level within the Greater Kruger landscape via its Rural Initiatives for a Sustainable Environment (RISE) Unit, thereby impacting communities and their value of wildlife and the environment.