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South Africa 2020

In January/February 2020, the EDGE Programme delivered its tenth EDGE Conservation Tools Training Course at the Southern African Wildlife College, South Africa. The course was attended by sixteen participants. All sixteen participants were successfully awarded EDGE Fellowships.

South Africa EDGE Conservation Tools training course 2020

Each year, as part of the EDGE Fellowship programme, ZSL runs an EDGE Conservation Tools training course, bringing together early-career conservationists from around the globe working on mammal, amphibian, bird, reptile, coral and shark/ray EDGE species. The Fellows arrive in the Southern African Wildlife College, South Africa, ready to start their training.

Welcome to Southern African Wildlife College, South Africa

In January 2020, sixteen international participants joined experts from ZSL for four action packed weeks of intensive training in the tools required to design, implement and manage successful conservation projects. This year the training was based at the Southern African Wildlife College, in South Africa. This classroom would be their home for the next month.

Getting to work

Through a series of lectures, hands-on practical’s and assessments, participants were taught four core modules: the principles of conservation biology, ecological monitoring, social science surveying techniques and applied conservation action.

Camera trapping

The Fellows set up camera traps both inside and outside the SAWC Campus to learn about this monitoring technique and discover the wildlife around them.

Sciencetelling Bootcamp

Trainers from National Geographic joined the Conservation Tools training course for the third year. The Fellows received lessons in photography, videography, social media, writing and public speaking in a Sciencetelling bootcamp.

One-to-one sessions

The Fellows all received one-to-one sessions to discuss their projects with the EDGE conservation biologists.

A rare day off

Fellows were able to visit the world renowned Kruger National Park on one off day. Seeing various large animal and birds, such as the woolly necked stork and the African elephant

Confidence building

Course participants frequently have to work together in training sessions, and they were encouraged to change where they were seated during the course to interact with as many other participants as possible.

First Aid training

Not all of the training was conservation-based, as critical skills such as risk assessments, safeguarding and emergency first aid were also taught on the course.

Equipment training

The Fellows are introduced to the use of various fieldwork equipment, like these canopy densiometers.

Wildlife encounters

Around camp we were fortunate to see many different invertebrate species, chameleons, frogs and spotted genets. We were also lucky enough to see (or hear!) many different species of bird around the campus!

Survey training

The Fellows try their hand at DISTANCE sampling.


All of the participants successfully completed the training course and were presented with certificates to mark their achievements. The EDGE team is now working with the course participants to support and develop their projects. If you are interested in attending the next training course and becoming an EDGE Fellow, please visit