Branch Member – Marico Bosveld
Policy Processes / Wildlife Economy
“The exploitation of nature at all levels presents us with challenges that require complicated solutions. As a conservation association, we can make a difference by creating awareness and involving communities in the hunting and tourism sector. Our members have vast experiences that they can share with communities towards making a significant change. Only the private sector can take conservation into the future.”
Pieter Nel is an ecologist with 35 years’ experience in conservation management of both public and private natural areas. Although he grew up on a farm and spent time in the veld, it was only in 1984 during his first visit to the north-eastern lowveld, that he decided to follow a career in conservation. He was an ecologist with the former Transvaal nature conservation. The experience he had gained during that time, still has an impact on his approach to ecological management. After the merging with the Bophuthatswana Parks and Wildlife, Pieter came in contact with a modern approach to conservation that he founded agreeable. It focused on sustainable use and advanced programmes for education and awareness about conservation matters. Pieter is the acting head of conservation management at Northwest Parks, and the head of ecological services. He was involved with the ecological management of the Madikwe and Pilansberg reserves for over 20 years. He finds that being in the veld – both bushveld and open grassland – calms him down and gives him a new perspective on life. Pieter regards his career in conservation as a privilege. Although his work is mostly of administrative nature at this stage, he still gets sufficient opportunity to become involved in the practical aspects of conservation.