Johannesburg, 2nd December 2014: It is with deep sadness that The South African Breweries (SAB) acknowledges the passing of Dr. Ian Player, the man who started the SAB Environmental Media and Environmentalist of the Year Awards.
Dr. Player's career began with the Natal Parks Board in 1952 and whilst Warden of the Umfolozi Game Reserve, he spearheaded two key initiatives including Operation Rhino, that saved the few remaining southern race of white rhino and helped obtain protected status for the Umfolozi and St. Lucia Wilderness Areas (the first wilderness areas to be zoned in South Africa and on the African continent.)
He founded the Wilderness Leadership School which led to the formation of the International Wilderness Leadership Foundation (WILD), the Wilderness Foundation SA, Wilderness Foundation UK, the Magqubu Ntombela Foundation, not to mention the World Wilderness Congresses, first convened in 1977.
In 1988, together with SAB he initiated the SAB Environmental Media and Environmentalist of the Year Awards. In 2009 SAB introduced the Magqubu Ntombela and Ian Player Cub Award, which honours environmental journalists starting out in the field. The Award was named after both Dr. Player and the late umZulu game ranger Magqubu Ntombela who was a mentor to Dr Player for over 40 years.
Dr. Player received an SAB Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 and was inducted into the SAB Environmental Hall of Fame in 2012.
He will be missed and remembered by all who knew him.
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