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Dr Ian Player A Lifetime of AchievementsKatherine Pretorius Hailed as one of the foremost environmentalists in Southern Africa and amoung the most prominent worldwide, renowned environmentalist Dr Ian player needs no introduction.Throughout his life, Ian Player fought those who exploited resources in the realm of conversation to preserve the best remaining areas of the country. He introduced the concept and reality of 'designated' wildernesses in prime locations. His influence extended globally across many continents, and his contributions to conservation were profound and changed the lives of countless people in his native South Africa and around the world.Dr Player was awarded many accolades for his exceptional contribution to conservation and the environment, so it was fitting that in April 2012, he was presented with the Anton Rupert Award for Lifetime Achievement in Conservation. The award was handed to him by Werner Myburgh, CEO of Peace Parks Foundation and member of the Peace Parks Foundation Board of Directors, Dr Frank Raimondo.
Throughout his career, Dr Ian Player has worked in both the formal and private conservation sectors. He has always believed that protected areas, including wilderness areas and wildlife, need people involved in conservation. Bringing people from all walks of life and places of the world together to experience wilderness and conservation of our natural resources has been a passion for him and his mentor, Magqubu Ntombela. The Duzi Marathon is one of the many foundations and causes founded by Dr Player. While serving in the 6th SA Armoured Division in Italy from 1944 to 1945, he dreamed of a river race which ran from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. That dream was brought to life when in 1951, he took part in the race and was the only one to finish – so the dream became a reality. Because of his involvement in the race, he was fired, which led him to accept a position at the Natal Parks Board, where his passion for conservation was born.
Although he is known most for his tireless efforts to save the Rhino, his many achievements within and without the confines of conservation are testament to his love and commitment to the wilderness and its wildlife. He has inspired not only our nation but also nations across the globe. Today, his many foundations continue his work by creating awareness of the ongoing destruction of our planet and the resulting consequences. The best way to honour Dr Ian Player is to carry the torch he set ablaze, pass it on to the next generation, and keep the fire burning brightly."We've got three million years of Africa imprinted on our psyche…to see how people are gripped by the spirit of Africa, particularly at night when they sleep on the red earth, that very ancient earth, and they dream their dreams. There is a connection that is evoked from the depths of the collective unconsciousness that has drawn us all together. And also, when they hear the leopard at night. That rasping call. It sparks something inside…It is an experience that has awakened thousands of people to the value of African wilderness, and the understanding that it was once their home. And it inspires them to protect it because it is the landscape of the human soul." – Dr Ian Player.