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Honorary Rangers

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Indaba 2005 – Addo Elephant National Park 

(See HR Gallery for photographs)

In late May 2005 Addo Elephant National Park played host to the annual Honorary Rangers Indaba. About 150 of the Corps 500 odd members descended on Addo from all corners of South Africa and the tremendous changes and expansions in the park were a fitting backdrop to the depth of the involvement of the HRs in all walks of SANParks and their endeavour to embrace change and a wider demographic representation in SANParks’ volunteer organisation.

Although it was only 7 months since their last Indaba in Skukuza (a decision had been made to shift them from October to May), the rangers have packed a wealth of contribution towards SANParks into that short period. These include donations to SANParks transport fleet (A stingray patrol boat for West Coast from that region and a Mercedes Media Van for the Kruger to Kassie campaign from Shell and the Johannesburg region); SANParks infrastructure (including donation towards the accessible trail at Nature’s Valley compliments of Metropolitan and the Tsitsikamma region, a hide at Punda Maria via SASOL and the West Rand region, a roof for the staff recreation centre at Phalaborwa from Bushveld region and a boma for Talamati also from West Rand). Time, effort and money was also given in various exhibitions held in shopping centres and at shows and other events, so too for various school educational visits, not to mention Pretoria region taking several school children from disadvantaged communities to Lower Sabie for a long weekend. In fact the work down with the Junior Honorary Rangers is perhaps the most significant as it is laying the foundation for a volunteer base stretching into the future, and one that is truly representative of all South Africans.

Leading up to the AGM and Gala Dinner on the Saturday, a selection of marine ecology training courses, boat trips around the coastal islands and 4x4 excursions into the Zuurberg Wilderness were spiced up with evening talks by Drs Matt Hayward and Bill Branch on Addo’s lions and snakes respectively. Friday night saw the holding of the HR quiz, ably hosted by Quinton Coetzee. Fittingly it was the local region’s protagonists the Elephants who cruised to victory.

During the routine reporting back of the AGM on the Saturday Morning rousingly chaired by Janssen Davies, the rangers were boosted by presentations by 2 of the SANParks executive. SANParks executive directors Glenn Phillips and Dr. Razeena Wagiet highlighted where the Corps can continue to make a telling contribution to both the tourism and the people and conservation realms. Ishmael Makweba and Chris Patton also made presentations that highlighted the impact the Corps has had on SANParks and thanked them for their collective efforts.

However the Gala Dinner was certainly the highlight of the week’s events as Dr. Mike Knight eloquently chartered the audience through the process and achievements of taking Addo from a small sanctuary intended to save one species from extermination, to a complex and diverse ecological expanse that captures multiple habitat biomes and allows many of the region’s natural treasures to thrive into the future. This was followed by SANParks Board Chairperson Dr. Cheryl Carolus who made an inspirational visit to the dinner despite only just having returned from overseas. Her words of encouragement to the Corps to continue with their selfless contribution but at the same time embracing greater black representation was an excellent follow up to the discussions during the morning’s meeting.

The Addo Honorary Rangers organising team did a wonderful job in arranging and facilitating this gathering and special thanks must go to all the sponsors who helped to bring the event together:

  • A & S Printers
  • Aberdare Cables
  • Algoa Brick
  • Algoa FM
  • AQuelle
  • Aspen Pharmacare
  • Canvas and Tent
  • Chris Patton
  • Discovery Group
  • East Cape Motors
  • HiQ
  • Karoo Butchery ( Kirkwood)
  • Lipsano
  • MCG/Ragtime
  • Media 24 Wegbreek
  • Melmont Honey Bush Tea
  • Nedbank
  • Nissan Eastern Cape
  • Pfizer
  • Pick & Pay
  • PPC
  • Quinton Coetzee
  • SABCO Coca-Cola
  • SANParks
  • SASOL
  • South African Breweries
  • Taboureux Naudé
  • The Management and staff of Addo Elephant NP
  • Tsitsikamma Crystal Spring Water