Dr Ian Player remembered

@Keran Ducasse

Today is Dr Ian Player’s birthday.  All of us on the Save our iMfolozi Wilderness Campaign fondly remember him as a great human being, a conservationist and an advocate of Wilderness. He sadly passed away on 30 November 2014

Dr Ian Player is mostly remembered for his sterling work in saving the White Rhino in iMfolozi that brought the species back from the brink of extinction.

He recognised the value of Wilderness both for its role in the preservation of biodiversity and for its immense benefits to the human psyche. It is due to his efforts that the iMfolozi Wilderness area was established in the late 1950’s.

Sadly, the iMfolozi Wilderness and the White Rhino are now faced with an unprecedented combination of threats. Rhino poaching has reached an frightening level of severity, and the Mfolozi Wilderness and indeed the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is facing an onslaught of coal mining applications that threaten it with deproclamation.

It is thanks to Dr Ian Player that we have the iMfolozi Wilderness and the White Rhino today. It is up to us now to make sure that his work is not in vain.



  1. Dear Ian would have celebrated his 90th birthday on 15 March 2017. In addition to his conservation achievements that made him world famous, he was deeply interested in people. During his lifetime he changed the course of many people’s lives for the better. By doing so, he has left the world a better place given that many of these people are committed to continuing his legacy.

  2. Ian Player would have celebrated his 90th birthday on 15 March 2017. While his conservation achievements brought him world renown, it was his deep interest in people that brought him many enduring friendships. During his lifetime he changed the course of many people’s lives for the better. By so doing, he has left the world a better since many are committed to continuing his legacy and determined to defend the iMfolozi Wilderness Area that Ian was instrumental in creating. The struggle continues and we are determined to win against the unlimited greed and rapaciousness of Petmin’s Tendele coal mine that is hellbent on destroying the lives of the rural Somkhele communities, the peaceful surrounds of HIP and the Hluhulwe Imfolozi Park itself – a legacy for all South Africans and thousands of foreign visitors from beyond our borders.

  3. John Francis Gardner

    Ian told me how the war against poaching would never be won but every skirmish had to be fought as in a guerilla war. It was because of him that I got the first grant from the Nedbank Green Trust and that helped to secure the long term survival of the unique Orangekloof wetlands at the back of Table mountain . It was that step that mane many steps possible and culminated in the Table Mountain Survival Workshop that pushed for World Heritage Site and Unified management. So his legacy lives on all arround the world . Let us be encouraged and walk or run one step futher than our opponents and in so doing win the race … which qualifies us to win the next and the next no matter how hard they seem . This is how the impossible becomes possible. If Mother Teresa can take on the dying in India we can take on all the mining houses , all the greed and all the destruction …. We can win bit by bit by bit !

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