In memory of the late Dr. Ian Player, his brother and World Golf Hall of Famer, Gary Player, recently dedicated his time to raise funds for the World Wide Fund for Nature at Sun City’s Lost City Golf Course.
Player took a day off from his classic all-black attire, and dressed in all green to show his support for conservation. The Black Knight led the winners of the World Wildlife Fund Gary Goes Green competition in a round of golf at the Gary Player-designed course.
Dr. Ian Player worked tirelessly throughout his life for wildlife conservation, and successfully brought the white rhino back from near extinction. It was a fitting tribute for Gary Player to pledge his support to the WWF and their work to help save all endangered rhino species.
South Africa is home to most of the world’s rhinos, and poaching levels in the country over the last 10 years have reached staggering levels. If the trend continues, the black rhino will be driven to extinction in the next decade. WWF’s dedicated rhino program is tackling the crisis at many levels, from growing rhino populations, working with communities to conserve rhinos and reducing the demand for rhino horn in the east. WWF, one of the world’s largest environmental conservation organizations, relies on the support of individuals and corporations to carry out their conservation work.
Dr. Player’s work in environmental education, conservation, and activism contributed greatly to today’s wildlife conservation in Southern Africa and around the world. Dr. Player served on the Natal Parks Board beginning in 1952 and went on to become the Chief Game Conservator. Operation Rhino, spearheaded by Dr. Player in the 1960s, saved the threatened White Rhino from extinction. Ian not only successfully relocated the few remaining white rhinos to safer and larger habitats, but he also facilitated the move of some white rhinos to zoological gardens and safari parks around the world to ensure the breed’s survival. His efforts in conservation also led to the establishment of an anti-poaching network in South African game reserves. Dr. Player’s work resulted in bodies of research, documentary and popular films, many books, and other efforts in awareness for the cause of saving the rhino and other endangered species.
Gary Player remembers his brother as “a great South African, a dedicated conservationist, a gentleman, a scholar, and to me, a loving brother.” Player said, “Ian truly made a difference in this world with his heroic efforts for which he was bestowed countless awards and accolades, all of which he richly deserved.”
Dr. Player’s many colleagues and successors continue to build on his work globally and to carry out his vision around the world. His legacy, now being managed by Marc Player and his Black Knight International business, inspires those who strive to save the natural world for all mankind.