Wilderness Foundation Global (WFG) was born in the African wilderness, emerging from the 60 years of conservation experience and expertise of Game Ranger Ian Player and his mentor and brother, Magqubu Ntombela – a remarkable Zulu of the old order, the oral tradition. Ian and Magqubu lead the team in Operation Rhino during the early 1960s that saved the white rhino from extinction. This accomplishment remains one of the great conservation victories and, ironically, without its success there could not be the resurgent crisis in rhino poaching that we face today.
Their work convinced them that, as vitally important as it is to save wildlife and wild places, such hard-won accomplishments will never last unless people understand the importance, and feel the spirit, of wilderness. As a result, they started the Wilderness Leadership School and dedicated themselves to taking small groups of leaders from business, communities, and politics on walking “trails” to experience wilderness and to learn about themselves and each other. This work flaunted the laws of the institutional racism during apartheid-era South Africa, in order to help increase awareness of wilderness as well as to help bring resolution in a divided country. As Magqubu said, “Around the campfire, everyone is equal.”
From this work began a global movement to connect wilderness and people. Several small and targeted conservation organizations and/or experiential programmes were founded in other countries. In 1977, the World Wilderness Congress began and, over time has become the international campfire around which gathers people from all professions, cultures, and countries to collaborate and act on behalf of wilderness, wildlife, and people.
This wide and diverse network of accomplished professionals and experts around the world are the substance of Wilderness Foundation Global. The anchors for the WFG network and its conservation projects are:
Wilderness Foundation (United Kingdom) believes in the irreplaceable value, benefits, and beauty of wilderness, and the unique way in which the experience of wilderness can give us a sense of both our origins and our place in modern society
The Wilderness Leadership School was the first non-profit organisation in Africa dedicated to providing a pure wilderness experience for people of all backgrounds, races and nationalities.