Education Focus: WildlifeCampus and its role in wildlife education and the wildlife industry

Eloise Acx - WildlifeCampus COO
Author: Eloise Acx (Chief Operating Officer - WildlifeCampus)

WildlifeCampus’ mission is to offer affordable and accessible education to the general public
as well to those already involved in—and looking to enter—the Wildlife Industry. We also
take pride in our conservation through education model, as we support selected
conservation driven organisations though funding from certain online course sales.

The wildlife industry is ever-changing. It goes through its highs and its lows, but one thing that remains consistent in all sectors of the industry is the need for education. No matter the level of experience, there is always room for self-improvement, from the beginners (our future generations) right up to the experts. Sustainable conservation practices go hand in hand with education. As the world changes around us, we need to learn to work with these changes, in order to keep up. These practices will no doubt positively influence future potential growth within the wildlife industry and beyond. They will also contribute towards the upliftment and growth of our local communities.

Tito Mboweni’s Economic Transformation plan

In the recently announced Economic Transformation plan, Tito Mboweni called for “Innovative joint ventures to boost agricultural production”. WildlifeCampus supports partnership innovations and we strongly believe that working together is the only way we can rise above the current challenges we face. It is during these tough times in particular that unity within the wildlife and agricultural industry is needed.

WildlifeCampus is particularly proud to have partnered with Hillcrest Game Estates. Hillcrest Game Estates offers us the perfect opportunity to put what we stand for, and teach in theory, into practice. By allowing WildlifeCampus to get involved in the practical aspect of wildlife and game ranching, Hillcrest Game Estates assists us with keeping up to date on changes in general wildlife practices. We can then bring our experiences forward to our online students. We learn what sustainable game farming entails as well as how we can uplift those around us to ensure the future of our wildlife is a bright one.

Hillcrest Game Estate newborn roan
Hillcrest Game Estates owner, John Firth observes his team as they safely and carefully tag and check a newborn roan antelope.

Before we can care for our wildlife, we need to be able to care for one another:

Supporting local communities is something WildlifeCampus feel strongly about.
WildlifeCampus fully supports Hillcrest’s education-related investment partnerships and
initiatives. For example, Hillcrest Game Estates is involved with Diphetogo creche in
Tswelelang, Wolmaransstad. Through financial contributions, Hillcrest provides a nutritious
meal to each child every day during school terms. Additional financial aid is also provided to
help feed a large number of orphans during school holidays when there is limited assistance
from formal authorities. 

Additionally, from time to time, Hillcrest Game Estates invites the creché children to the farm
to enjoy a game drive and refreshments. Their aim is to cultivate an appreciation of nature
and respect for South Africa’s rich wildlife heritage. Creating this appreciation fosters the
correct foundations for future generations of wildlife conservationists and farmers. It is
through initiatives such as these, that local communities open themselves up to learn more
and become more sustainable themselves.

Hillcrest Game newborn roan
The newborn roan antelope is successfully tagged and treated.

Hillcrest Game Estates and WildlifeCampus unite to make quality education available:

Not only have the WildlifeCampus team had the opportunity to take part in the practical
aspects of running a successful game farm, but recently, Hillcrest Game Estates also
opened their facilities to a cohort of BSc final-year students from North-West University’s
(NWU) Mafikeng campus. This student experience is proving to be most valuable to
WildlifeCampus as it enables us to observe how students respond to translating what they’re
learning in theory, into a practical and hands-on environment.

Hillcrest Game Estates tranquilised sable
Hillcrest Game Estates' General Manager, Piet Botma, secures a tranquilised sable to allow wildlife vet, Dr Cizelle Naude, to conduct a check-up and administer medication.

Looking ahead, we look forward to celebrating 20 years in the wildlife education industry and what we will learn next!

As we fast-approach the end of yet another eventful year, we look forward to celebrating 20 years in wildlife education in 2020! In the new year, we will be releasing a large amount of
updated course content and look forward to visiting Hillcrest Game Estates once again, thereby learning as much as we can from its highly experienced and professional management and staff team.

Hillcrest Game Estates game capture
Hillcrest Game Estates management and staff prepare for a game capture operation. Teamwork is everything!

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Hillcrest Game newborn roan

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