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Park Ranger
The role of conservation is to manage natural resources for the benefit of society. The primary objective of the park ranger is to conserve and manage natural resources.

Park rangers perform a variety of tasks and functions depending on the needs of the area within which they find themselves. Their roles may include capturing game for relocation, culling overpopulated game to reduce numbers, researching the movement of game, and environmental impact studies. One of their primary functions is law enforcement and in ensuring that the parks or wilderness areas are protected for the benefit of all. They may also support research projects designed by scientists and are often also responsible for tourists, for instance, taking visitors on guided tours or presenting environmental education programmes.

Some park rangers become experts in one or more specific areas of conservation and may conduct work which requires extensive planning, reading, fieldwork and data analysis. Others may become more involved in developing publicity material and liaising with the public and the media. Depending on their kind of employment, the nature conservator may also be responsible for financial administration, management of personnel and labour relations.

Satisfying Aspects
- working with animals
- the opportunity to specialize in your area of interest
- able to observe animals of many different types in their natural environment

Demanding aspects
- long and irregular working hours
- working outdoors in poor weather conditions
- having to live in remote areas, far away from schools, hospitals, shops and other amenities
- not very rewarding financially

A nature conservator or game ranger should:
- have a passionate interest in conserving natural resources
- love outdoor life and animals
- have good health and physical fitness
- be practical and self-sufficient
- be responsible
- communicate well with people
- be able to use a firearm and shoot accurately
- be dedicated to the work
- be able to speak at least two languages fluently

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences (only for the degree course)
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences, Geography

Degree: Special BSc or BTech courses in Ecology or Nature Conservation are offered at Wits, UFS, UKZN, US, UV, UNISA, UJ, UCT, NMMU, RU.
Zoology and Botany are offered at all universities.

Diploma: CPUT, TUT

Post-graduate: BSc (Hons)(Environmental Management / Nature Conservation): UNISA, followed by MSc and PhD
BSc (Hons) with an ecological approach, preferably in some applied fields such as Mammalogy, Ornithology, Limnology or Ecobotany, depending upon the student's specific interest, particularly suited for the person interested in research.
BVSc.: Many veterinarians are active in conservation or wildlife management, for example, UP has a chart of wildlife diseases in its Faculty of Veterinary Science.
BTech Hons in Nature Conservation can be taken at NMMU, (George Campus), followed by MTech and DTech, which are research qualifications.

Diploma: N.Dip. in Environmental Health or Nature Conservation is offered at DUT, CPUT, TUT, usually involving 2 years theoretical study and 1 year in-service training at an approved game ranch or game reserve etc. Specific courses are:
N.Dip. and BTech Nature Conservation : UNISA
N.Dip. and BTech Nature Conservation : NMMU, (George Campus)
N.Dip. Nature Conservation : (2 years theoretical study and 1 year practical work): CPUT

For those interested in conducting nature conservation walks, a course is offered by the field Guides Association of South Africa

- National Parks Board
- Private game farms
- Private game reserves
- Government departments
- Provincial conservation organizations
- Large mining, chemical and industrial companies.

A nature conservator or game ranger can work as a consultant in the private sector performing environmental impact studies.

Wildlife and Environment Society of SA
P O Box 394
Howick, 3290
Tel: (033)-330-3931 Fax: (033)-330-4576
E-mail :

The National Parks Board
P O Box 787
Pretoria, 0001
643 Leyds Street
Tel: (012) 428-9111 Fax: (012) 426-5500

Field Guides Association of South Africa
P O Box 4432
Cresta, 2118
343 Surrey Avenue
3rd Floor Petrob House
Tel: (011) 886-8245 Fax: (011) 886-8084
E-mail :