December 2016 – After 15 years of dedicated and passionate service to the Wilderness Safaris cause and purpose, well-known environmentalist Martin Anthony Paul (Map) Ives is retiring from the company in order to focus his efforts on his role as Botswana’s National Rhino Coordinator and as head of the newly-launched independent NGO, Rhino Conservation Botswana.
Wilderness Safaris COO, Grant Woodrow, who has worked closely with Map throughout his time at the company, said in a farewell, “We’re obviously all very sad to see Map leave, but through our shared rhino vision we will continue to maintain extremely close ties and look forward to engaging Map on regular reviews of our broad environmental management strategy. In the meantime it is important to thank him for 15 years of dedication and for setting an exceptional example to us all.”
Born in Francistown, Botswana, in 1954, Map joined Wilderness Safaris in 2001 after a long career as a guide and environmentalist first in Zimbabwe, then South Africa and finally his beloved Botswana where he became synonymous with the Okavango Delta. His passionate treatises on the formation and flow of the Okavango Delta remain legendary amongst guests and staff alike and have informed the knowledge, enthusiasm and interpretive techniques of several generations of Wilderness Safaris guides. It is perhaps his legacy as a conservationist that will be most enduring however.
When Map joined Wilderness Safaris he very soon set about formulating what became known as the Environmental Minimum Standards. From waste water treatment to fuel storage, fat traps, recycling and more, these were meticulously documented and measured, first in Botswana and then in Wilderness Safaris operations in neighbouring countries like Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa. Map’s passion for mitigating the potential negative impacts of ecotourism operations on the environment have in no small part driven the current culture in the company and made it a more responsible one. In turn these standards came to form the basis of the highly respected Botswana Ecotourism Certification process.
Map’s arrival at Wilderness Safaris in 2001 also coincided with the early days of the company’s rhino relocation and conservation project. Unsurprisingly he wasted no time in becoming involved in this initiative and over the years added his own particular passion and personality to it. In fact it is this drive to make Botswana a significant range state for both African species of rhino that has come to occupy the majority of his time and with which Map – as a result of his role as Botswana’s National Rhino Coordinator – is these days most associated.
In recent years Map noted the need to bring together the entire Botswana ecotourism industry into one cohesive rhino conservation movement. With the blessing of both Wilderness Safaris and the government, he and his peers formed the independent NGO, Rhino Conservation Botswana, as a means for non-partisan conservation cooperation. It is to this body to which Map will now devote his efforts full time in order to coordinate and centralise Botswana rhino conservation by bringing together the entire ecotourism industry, conservation sector and the Botswana government.
Map officially departs Wilderness Safaris at the end of January 2017. Anyone seeking to contact him to contribute to Botswana rhino conservation can reach him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.