Conservation Employment in South Africa

Working in the ecological field is gratifying because you can contribute to the protection and promotion of essential ecological structures necessary for our continued existence. South Africa has a large number of wildlife sanctuaries, game reserves and farms, making it the ideal place to find conservation jobs.

There a wide variety of conservation jobs in South Africa whether you plan to become part of the Conservation Branch, Scientific Services Branch, the Conservation Partnerships or the Projects Branch. The service sections include Eco-tourism, Finances, Technical Services, Human Resources, Internal Audits, and the Information Systems Branch. These sections offer a number of opportunities ranging from medical care, personnel management, hospitality services, and technical support to vehicles, maintenance, to tourism and teaching.

Nature Conservators in South AfricaRangers as they are called in KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife, have a wide range of duties, and practical resourcefulness is thus a requirement for anyone who wants to join the conservation team.

Their duties include:

  • Monitoring and recording of animal and plant life
  • Game capturing, counting and sometimes also culling
  • Law enforcement
  • Fire arm control
  • Personnel management
  • Fence and road maintenance
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Management of fires through controlled burning practices
  • raining of personnel and volunteers
  • Providing information to tourists
  • Educating the community about environmental issues
  • Anti-poaching patrolling
The rangers must be able to interact with people, as it is seen as priority to involve surrounding communities in the conservation effort and to enhance tourist returns to the reserves. The minimum requirement to become a nature conservator in South Africa is the National Diploma in Nature Conservation. It is a three-year course of which one year entails practical application. Nature Conservation Scientists

Their main duty is to provide guidance on nature conservation management, based on literature reviews and research monitoring programs.
Their duties include:

  • Surveys of fauna and flora species, including communities that occur in the fresh water, terrestrial, and marine systems
  • Examination of the relationship between the systems
  • Assessment of the impact of management actions
  • Evaluation of the wildlife resources

The minimum requirement to become a Nature Conservation Scientist is a four-year B.Sc degree or a higher qualification.

Marine Conservation
There are also conservation jobs in South Africa in the marine environment if the sea attracts you. Salaries are low and a love for the overall cause of marine conservation is a must.

Marine conservation is a very broad field and some of duties are:

  • Monitoring the catches of the commercial fishing industry
  • Policing the large recreational fishing industry
  • Management of South Africa's 11 harbors
  • Education of the communities
  • Data collection

The marine conservator must be able to handle conflict situations, have stamina and should be willing to work after hours. There isn't a minimum qualification to become a marine conservator in South Africa, though a diploma in Nature Conservation is recommended.

You can also become a volunteer for one of the many conservation jobs in South Africa through a number of institutions. It provides an opportunity to explore the field of conservation before you decide to make it a career. The World Land Trust in collaboration with several colleges, offer courses equivalent to the South African diplomas in conservation.

Other conservation jobs in South Africa include conservation tourist guides, technical maintenance, computer technicians and programmers, and conservation educators. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism in South Africa provides a list of environmental careers and the minimum requirements.