Wildlife Collaboration-Piet Botma and team

WildlifeCampus collaboration with Hillcrest Game Estates—All the details

EloiseAuthor: Eloise Acx — Chief Operating Officer, WildlifeCampus

WildlifeCampus is an established, fully endorsed and reputable distance-learning provider that has been offering a wide variety of wildlife, wildlife-related, guiding and natural science courses for more than 17 years.

Wildlife management online distance-learning

The WildlifeCampus Wildlife Management course was originally written by WildlifeCampus’ CEO, Todd Kaplan. The course stems from the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Wildlife Management’s honours degree programme, but has been re-written so that no prior learning is required. The WildlifeCampus Wildlife Management course is purposefully structured to provide comprehensive information to anybody who truly wants to learn significantly more about the ecological management of game farms and game reserves.

As WildlifeCampus continues to grow, we are constantly researching and working on bringing wildlife students the best possible content and practical advice on offer. Hillcrest Game Estates provides WildlifeCampus, which is principally an online theory-training provider, with practical experiences directly related and relevant to WildlifeCampus online courseware.

Since WildlifeCampus was founded in 2001, there have been major advances in the various fields and technology of wildlife science. WildlifeCampus has come to realise that internet and data access has become far more available and its global-reach is growing all the time.

The WildlifeCampus online student-base is growing fast too—Students are able to access course content from most geographic locations worldwide. This growing student-base, coupled with the increasing trend towards paperless courseware in distance-learning, necessitated the recent need to revise and upgrade some of the WildlifeCampus courseware. Now the WildlifeCampus Wildlife Management course provides students with a far richer assortment of visual content, including more photography and videos.

Collaboration agreement between WildlifeCampus and Hillcrest Game Estates

WildlifeCampus’s ability to offer a richer assortment of visual content started with a round of talks which took place in November 2017. Principally brokered by Adrian Baillie-Stewart, director and content strategist at Content Strategics, the WildlifeCampus management-team met with John Firth from Hillcrest Game Estates. These talks culminated in the establishment of a mutually beneficial collaboration agreement between WildlifeCampus (‘WLC’) and Hillcrest Game Estates (‘Hillcrest’).

WildlifeCampus continually seeks to offer its students with practical experiences that are directly related to the courses it offers. One of the most exciting new student-opportunities that has arisen from the WLC/Hillcrest collaboration, is to offer WildlifeCampus students the option of undergoing (once completing the theory-section of the Wildlife Management course) an additional paid-for practical experience at the Hillcrest game ranch in Wolmaransstad.

In March of this year (2018), passionate wildlife educators Eloise and Jonathan Acx from WildlifeCampus visited Hillcrest. It was at this time that the WLC/Hillcrest collaboration agreement was officially signed. During their first visit to Hillcrest, Eloise and Jonathan were accompanied by Kailen Padayachee from KaiNav Conservation Foundation. Kailen ably assistedWildlifeCampus with the content update of its Wildlife Management course.

Practical experiences and chopper-flip at Hillcrest

During their visit to the ranch, Eloise, Jonathan and Kailen gained valuable insight into what it takes to successfully run and manage a profitable game-farm operation—particularly how to suitably manage the breeding and selection of prize game. Much of that which was experienced on the ranch is closely aligned to the course content covered in the WildlifeCampus Wildlife Management course.

Wildlife Collaboration-Piet Botma and team
Horn-width measurements form an integral part of the recording and tracking of prize game progeny.

For example, it was observed how the Hillcrest team successfully tagged a roan-calf for identification and breeding purposes. From their visit to Hillcrest, it became apparent that the Hillcrest team are passionate about their work, their game and their contribution being made to practical education about the South African game industry.

TheWildlifeCampus team observed a full game-capture operation involving the darting of Oryx/Gemsbok from a helicopter. Once darted, the Oryx/Gemsbok were safely and professionally translocated to another camp. This logistically complex operation requires a large, dedicated team of skilled professionals—each member has their designated set of tasks and responsibilities to fulfil.

It is clear that the Hillcrest team are quick to get the relocation done as fast and as smoothly as possible. The primary focus during the game-capture process, is to subject the wild animals to the least amount of stress possible.

It is worth noting that visits to Hillcrest—an incredible experience in and of itself—covers many bases of the game-capture and translocation process that is described and taught in the WildlifeCampus Wildlife Management course.

Hillcrest Game Capture
A chopper is used to assist with the darting process of game-capture.

During this visit—as a final treat—Eloise, Jonathan and Kailen went for an exciting chopper-flip over the entire Hillcrest ranch. This allowed them to get a bird’s eye-view from the skies: to see how the various game camps, fences and service-roads on the ranch have been designed for optimal game management efficiency. When viewed from the sky, it is clear that establishing and setting up of a game ranch takes a significant amount of planning and hard work. Hillcrest’s many motorised (solar-powered) gates were designed and hand-built by farm foreman, Bennie Groenewald.

First international-student attends practical experience at Hillcrest

Hillcrest Game Estates international student
WildlifeCampus international-student, Guy Degrande (from Hungary) gets first-hand experience of what it takes to dart, treat, measure and care for sable antelope.

On a later follow-up visit to Hillcrest, Jonathan Acx was accompanied by WildlifeCampus international-student, Guy Degrande (from Hungary). Guy got first-hand experience of what it takes to dart, treat, measure and care for sable antelope. Farm Manager Piet Botma was most accommodating and willing to share his knowledge and experience of what it takes to run all daily operations at the ranch. Guy thoroughly enjoyed his short practical experience at Hillcrest. Going forward, Guy will assist WildlifeCampus by encouraging other international students to sign up for a practical experience at Hillcrest.

Hillcrest to develop student-accommodation and lecture-room facilities

Hillcrest is currently in the process of developing student accommodation and lecture-room facilities. This will allow visiting international (and/or local) WildlifeCampus students to spend a prolonged period of time (anywhere from 3 to 21 days) on the ranch. Prolonged visits will allow students to gain in-depth experience relating to the many practical aspects involved in wildlife and game farm management. Before students attend a practical experience at Hillcrest, it is strongly recommended that they register for the WildlifeCampus Wildlife Management course. This way, students get involved to the maximum: they will receive comprehensive up-to-date theoretical training as well as get the prime opportunity to participate in many real-life practical experiences on the Hillcrest game ranch.

WildlifeCampus announces its new and fully revised Wildlife Management course

Screenshot of WildlifeCampus’ online wildlife management course (presented in collaboration with Hillcrest Game Estates).

On 8 June 2018, the new and fully revised and visually enhanced WLC Wildlife Management course was launched. This online distance-education course contains content that has been fully revised and updated by KaiNav Conservation Foundation. Furthermore, incredible photographs and captivating videos were supplied by WildlifeCampus, Hillcrest and Content Strategics. This is by far one of WildlifeCampus’ biggest and most significant courseware updates yet.

WildlifeCampus and Hillcrest Game Estates—Proud education providers to the wildlife industry

With relevance to its online courses, WildlifeCampus continues to collaborate with Hillcrest. Additionally, WildlifeCampus now endeavours to actively promote practical student experiences at the Hillcrest game ranch. Similarly, Hillcrest is fully committed to helping WildlifeCampus grow and enrich its online courseware visual content.

The future looks promising: international (and local) wildlife students who are serious about improving on their knowledge and experience of the wildlife industry can now benefit greatly by registering for a course at WildlifeCampus and signing up for the additional practical experience at the Hillcrest game ranch.

WildlifeCampus and Hillcrest Game Estates philosophy a great combination for wildlife management education

Relevant to the wildlife student, the WildlifeCampus teaching philosophy is this:

Tell them, and they may forget.

Show them, and they may remember.


Involve them, and they will understand.

Hillcrest Game Estates and WildlifeCampus are equally driven by the passion and necessity for international and local students to gain access to industry-leading wildlife education. Together, this is a superb combination for wildlife management education.

WildlifeCampus—Find out more

  • For those interested in the courses WildlifeCampus offer, please visit WildlifeCampus.com for more information.
  • WildlifeCampus is easily found on Facebook too: visit @WildlifeCampusPage
  • The course-specific wildlife management course is directly accessible at wildlifemanagement.co.za. Includes all the required information about the course, inclusive of how to register and how to access selected free courseware content too.