Described as an environmental activist, conservationist and community leader, Andrew Muir has dedicated his life to conservation and social development. He was mentored by conservation icon Ian Player for 13 years, and took over his legacy in the management of the various organizations that Player had founded, including the world famous Wilderness Leadership School and Wilderness Foundation. He is currently Chief Executive Officer of Wilderness Foundation Global and Wilderness Foundation Africa. Andrew was honored as an International Rolex Awards Laureate in 2008, and as South African Conservationist of the Year in 2007. He has a Master's degree in Environment and Development from the University of Natal Pietermaritzburg, was awarded Degree of Doctor Social Science honoris causa from the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg in 2014, and serves on a number of non-profit, business and conservation boards.
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- Wilderness Foundation Africa
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- Hybrid Social Enterprise
- Sustainable Development
- South Africa
- Areas of Impact
- Africa, South Africa
Wilderness Foundation Africa
Wilderness Foundation Africa (WFA) is a conservation organization working to protect and sustain all life on Earth for current and future generations. The foundation was established in 1972 by conservation pioneer Dr Ian Player, who led the team that saved the white rhino from extinction in the 1960s. Inspired by this world renowned conservationist, WFA was rebirthed as a project-based conservation organization in 2000 by Andrew Muir.
Projects run by WFA are focussed on three key programme areas: species, spaces, people. The Forever Wild Conservation Programme was developed in response to the rhino poaching crisis and has been active through the Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative, providing logistical and operational support for conservation and law enforcement agencies responsible for rhino security. It is also involved in raising public awareness of the rhino poaching crisis and manages a rhino anti-poaching tipoff line. WFA launched a rhino horn demand reduction campaign in Viet Nam in 2014 and has successfully run this education and communication campaign in Ho Chi Minh City, reaching around 25,000 Vietnamese youth directly and nearly 1 million youth indirectly.
The conservation projects pioneered, supported or managed by WFA focus strongly on protected areas, which play a critical role in supporting biodiversity conservation and are an essential element in a comprehensive plan for reducing poverty and supporting economic development. WFA continues to actively expand its existing conservation networks, ensuring that protected areas and reserves are well managed, and provide benefits for their surrounding communities.
WFA has developed a number of holistic skills development and education interventions that harness the healing power of nature to equip vulnerable youth to be economically active and environmentally responsible citizens. Furthermore, the Foundation has seen just how powerfully young people respond to spending time in wilderness areas and based on their long history of using the healing power of nature for personal and social transformation, the foundation has integrated various levels of Wilderness Trail activities into its holistic intervention projects.