It is with great sorrow that I close this letter with the news that my mentor and friend Dr. Ian Player has passed away at the age of 87.
He was considered the Grandfather of Conservation in South Africa; a pioneer and visionary who has profoundly influenced conservation and changed the lives of countless people. He was responsible for saving the white rhino from extinction through Operation Rhino which relocated a number of white rhino from Imfolozi Game Reserve to establish safe breeding populations in other regions of South Africa.
Dr. Player also founded the Wilderness Leadership School, the first organization in Africa dedicated to providing a pure wilderness experience for people of all backgrounds, races and nationalities. Started in South Africa during apartheid, this multi-racial educational programme helped build a network of conservationists committed to saving wilderness and wildlife.
He will be dearly missed.