Shortly after sunrise, at Kieliekrankie Wilderness Camp in South Africa, as I settled into my balcony chair with my rusk and a coffee, I noticed a lone hyena on the horizon.
It was a cool and rainy morning for a game drive. The weather and lush green landscape, combined with the curves in the road, made it difficult to spot wildlife until we were within close proximity.
After more than a year of training and field experience, the first round of AWF Conservation Management Trainees has already amassed a wealth of experience.
To some African communities, the presence of wildlife is perceived as a threat to their livelihoods. Elephants are crop eating, water tank tipping nuisances. Lions are cattle attacking predators. Routine chores involve the added danger of stumbling upon a hippo or crocodile at the riverbank.
To others, where there is wildlife, they see opportunity. For many African nations, tourism is one of the fastest-growing economic sectors. In fact, Tanzania’s earnings topped 1.88 billion US Dollars in 2013, superseding gold as their number one foreign exchange earner.
After a successful first year of our Conservation Management Training program (CMTP), we welcomed a new class of impressive young professionals to this rigorous training program—and I had the opportunity to learn a little about the new additions to the program.