Ian Cedric Player

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Ian Player "has probably done more for environmental conservation in Southern Africa than any other individual. He is an elder statesman of conservation, both nationally and internationally and has over many years brought much credit to our country. Ian Player has been instrumental in educating and influencing generations of conservationists on three continents. He has provided an outstanding example and role model of service and dedication to a cause on which the future of the human race and indeed, of the planet as a whole may depend” Dr Ian Player’s passion for wilderness was deeply influenced over a period of some 50 years by his lifelong mentor Magqubu Ntombela.

"Ian Player’s conservation career started with the Natal Parks Board in 1952 and whilst Warden of the Umfolozi Game Reserve, he spearheaded two key initiatives; Operation Rhino that saved the few remaining southern race of white rhino and 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. Dr Player is the Founder of the Wilderness Leadership School that has taken many young leaders from southern Africa and other countries of the world. This led to the formation of the International Wilderness Leadership Foundation (WILD), the Wilderness Foundation SA, Wilderness Foundation UK, Magqubu Ntombela Foundation and the World Wilderness Congresses, first convened in 1977. Amongst many orders and awards he counts Knight of the Order of the Golden Ark and the Decoration for Meritorious Service (the highest Republic of South African civilian award). He is the recipient two honorary doctorates; Doctor of Philosophy, Honoris Causa from the University of Natal and Doctor of Laws (LLD) (h.c.) from Rhodes University." [1] [1]

"In the British Isles, Ian Player raised the initial money for and co-founded the Wilderness Foundation (UK) (now the Wilderness Trust) in collaboration with Sir Laurens van der Post, Edmund de Rothschild and the Duke of Wellington. This Trust takes Britons on foot into the wilderness areas of Africa." [2]

His web site is http://ianplayer.com/


  • Marja Spierenburg and Harry Wels, “Conservative Philanthropists, Royalty and Business Elites in Nature Conservation in Southern Africa,” In: Dan Brockington and Rosaleen Duffy (eds.), Capitalism and Conservation (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), pp.179-202.

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. Ian Player, Wilderness Foundation, accessed October 20, 2007.
  2. MR CHANCELLOR, accessed January 15, 2009.
  3. About, Magqubu Ntombela Memorial Foundation, accessed June 15, 2010.
  4. Advisors, Wilderness Conservancy, accessed June 15, 2010.
  5. Team, Space for Elephants Foundation, accessed June 16, 2010.
  6. About, Listening Point Foundation, accessed December 11, 2011.
  7. Patrons, The Bateleurs, accessed December 15, 2011.
  8. Organisatie, Foundation for Natural Leadership, accessed December 15, 2011.
  9. Global White Lion Protection Trust People, organizational web page, accessed December 27, 2013.
  10. International Anti-Poaching Foundation Advisory committee, organizational web page, accessed November 17, 2019.