Map Ives - rhino saviour
Map Ives - National rhino co-ordinator for Botswana.
Map began his wildlife career in 1976 when he joined the Zimbabwe National Parks Department as a field ranger. His early projects took him to areas like Darwendale where he helped establish a protected area for birds around a newly formed lake, and Chizarira National Park in the Zambezi escarpment where he conducted lengthy foot patrols to ward off poachers and record data on black rhino populations.
In 1979, he moved to South Africa where he became one of the pioneers of the country’s private safari industry at Londolozi Private Game Reserve in Mpumalanga, working for three years as a professional guide. In 1982, he returned to Botswana where he led walking safaris based out of mekoro into the remotest parts of the Okavango Delta.
At the time, the Okavango was still relatively unknown so he spent a great deal of time exploring the area, living on islands while gathering plants for identification. He soon realised that the Okavango Delta was one of the finest and most pristine environments on the continent and embarked on a study of as many facets of this unique system as possible, from the geological formation of the Delta and surrounds, to the movements and localities of bird and mammal populations.
He joined Wilderness Safaris’ environmental department in 1992, working on its sustainability projects. It was at this time that the Government of Botswana started working on a management plan for the Okavango Delta under the auspices of the Ramsar Convention. This process involved extensive stakeholder consultations. Map played a key role in the development of the plan with ecotourism playing a pivotal role as an economic driver for conservation and social upliftment.
It was at this time that through a joint venture, Wilderness Safaris and Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks began reintroducing black and white rhino to northern Botswana. Map’s work in conservation led him to being asked by Botswana’s Minister of Environment and Tourism to chair a committee charged with the management of the Moremi Game Reserve.
Recently, he was appointed as the National Rhino Coordinator for Botswana and will play a major role in the planning and implementation of a national rhino management strategy as Botswana increases its populations of black and white rhino. He will represent his country at the SADC Rhino Group as well as for the African Rhino Specialist Group. He will also implement policy on the country’s stance at the CITES conference of parties.
Courtesey Wilderness Safaris. Botswana-born, Map Ives has been working for Wilderness Safaris Botswana since 1992 and has played an integral role in growing the company’s environmental platform...and currently serves as their Environmental Director.
From Rhino Conservation Botswana:
A citizen of Botswana, Map has lived and worked in the wilds of northern Botswana for 35 years. He was one of the very first wildlife guides to be licensed in Botswana. Inspired by the rich diversity of life and unspoiled nature of the region, he organised and led wildlife safaris to remote areas of the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, Makgadikgadi Pans and the Central Kalahari.
On arriving in the Okavango Delta, Map realised that it was one of the continent’s most pristine and biodiverse environments. So he started to study every element that made up the Delta, from its diverse habitats to its incredible wildlife. Today, he helps to develop conservation policies in the Okavango Delta and other wilderness areas.
As the environmental director of Wilderness Safaris, Botswana, Map has been involved with the Botswana Rhino Project since 2002. He was the founding member of the Botswana Rhino Management Committee formed with the Botswana government to protect all rhinos in the country.
He is now the government-appointed National Rhino Coordinator for Botswana and oversees all rhino activities in the country. This includes nation-to-nation translocations and monitoring, and the coordination of rhino security through the establishment of forums to which all rhino managers and security agencies can contribute.
As National Rhino Coordinator, Map is also responsible for coordinating the activities of private rhino owners. He manages a national database of all rhinos in the country, carries out inspections of facilities on ranches and conservancies to ensure humane care, monitoring and security are provided, and helps create opportunities for the private sector to work with national security agencies and other law enforcement.
He serves as chairman of the Moremi Game Reserve Management Committee and vice-chair of the newly-established Tlhokomela Botswana Endangered Wildlife Trust. In this role, Map will be work closely with the Botswana government to assist its Department of Wildlife and National Parks to conserve and protect endangered wildlife in Botswana.
“Rhino conservation is a deadly serious business, and Botswana cannot do it alone – we need everyone to help us fight this battle. The sense of responsibility wakes me up at night, but what we’re achieving for rhinos right here, right now soothes the pain. We won’t give up."— Map Ives