History and Overview

Founding and early history of The Southern African Wildlife Management Association (SAWMA)

The first idea of a professional body to represent the growing number of wildlife management and research scientists in the country was born during an informal gathering of a few young, enthusiastic scientists in Pretoria around 1968/1969. They were Dr Bob Brain (Director of the then Transvaal Museum), Dr John Vincent (Formerly from the then Natal Parks Board), Dr Naas Rautenbach (also of Transvaal Museum) and Dr Dave Simpson (then a research fellow and lecturer at Texas A&M University).

They were soon joined by other scientists in the field of wildlife research who felt strongly that wildlife management needed to develop as a science of its own.  The result was The Southern African Wildlife Management Association which was formally constituted on 22 August 1970.  By the end of 1970 the association had about 77 members. An inaugural meeting to formally launch the association took place at the Transvaal Museum on 3 April 1971 and a committee was elected to hold office until the first AGM in 1971. Dr Dave Simpson was the first president from the time SAWMA was constituted to the first AGM in 1971. By then the numbers of SAWMA have increased to 171 members.

Initially the Wildlife Society of South Africa, with Dr Nolly Zaloumis as president, offered its support by helping to get the association off the ground. Initially the secretariat of the Wildlife Society was used for all the correspondence and other administrative matters.  For the first year or two SAWMA remained under the auspices of the Wildlife Society, but under the presidency and guidance of the very dynamic Dr Eddie Young who became president after Dr Dave Simpson, SAWMA soon become self-sustaining. 

An international symposium on wildlife management, “Wildlife Conservation and Utilisation in Africa”, supported by substantial sponsorship from a wide variety of commercial concerns, was held at the University of Pretoria in June 1973.  Prof J du P (Koos) Bothma then became president of the association until 1976, when Prof John Skinner took over the presidency. In 1977 the Association hosted the second international Symposium on African Wildlife Ecology.


Early history of the Journal

The first journal issue of SAWMA was published in 1971 and was initially called The Journal of the Southern African Wildlife Management Association.  Dr Dave Simpson made the drawing of the zebra on the cover of the first journal and one can only guess that this is why the SAWMA ended up with a zebra for its logo! Altogether 10 issues were published in the first five volumes of the Journal (1971 – 1975). From 1976 (Volume 6) the journal was renamed as the South African Journal of Wildlife Research.

Initially the publishing cost of the journal was carried by the Wildlife Society. This explains the display of logos of both the Wildlife Society and the Southern African Wildlife Management Association on all the journals up to volume 12 in1982.

Dr Naas Rautenbach, also president in later years (1983-1984), was the first editor of the journal, but the following year, editorial duties were taken over by Dr Stan Hirst. Dr Rautenbach served on the editorial committee for a many of years until 2000. 

Dr Pat Condy, previously curator of the Johannesburg Zoo, was scientific editor from 1976 – 1977, when Prof Jan Nel was appointed as editor. In later years Pat Condy also served as Honorary Treasurer for a period of 10 years, during which he established the association’s first computerised membership database and annual fee billing system during that time.

Only recently (in 2015) the journal was renamed to African Journal of Wildlife Research – publishing research from the African continent and also including research done on Arabian and Malagasy species.

SAWMA presidents: 1970 –2020
Dr Dave Simpson 1970 – 1971
Dr Eddie Young 1971 – 1973
Prof Koos Bothma 1974 – 1976
Prof John Skinner 1976 – 1977
P le S Milstein 1977 – 1978
Dr Nolly Zaloumis 1978 – 1979
Dr Neil Fairall 1979 – 1980
Mr Butch Smuts 1980 – 1981
Dr Richard Liversidge 1981 – 1982
Dr Naas Rautenbach 1983 – 1984
Dr Piet Mulder 1985 – 1986
Prof Banie Penzhorn 1987 – 1988
Mr Dick Parris 1989 – 1990
Dr Ortie Bourquin 1991 – 1992
Dr Neil Fairall 1993 – 1994
Prof Tim Crowe 1995 – 1997
Dr Kas Hamman 1998 – 2000
Prof Rudi van Aarde 2001 – 2004
Prof Johan du Toit 2004 – 2005
Dr Christo Marais 2005 – 2008
Mr Julius Koen 2008 – 2010
Prof Brian Reilly 2010 – 2012
Prof Louw Hoffman 2012 – 2014
Dr Harriet Davies-Mostert 2014 – 2016
Prof Paul Grobler 2016 – 2018
Prof Dan Parker 2018 – 2020
Journal Editors from 1971 – 2020
 Dr. Naas Rautenbach 1971 – 1972 
 Dr. Stan Hirst 1972 – 1975
 Dr. Pat Condy 1975 – 1977
 Prof. Jan Nel 1977 – 1980
 Dr. Neil Fairall 1980 – 1986
 Dr. Dave Rowe-Rowe 1986 – 1993
 Dr. Rob Little 1993 – 1997
 Mr. Julius Koen 1997 – 2001
 Dr. Belinda Reyers  2001 – 2004
 Prof. Michael Cherry  2004 – 2007
 Dr. Michael Somers  2007 – 2010
 Prof. Mike Perrin  2010 – 2014
 Prof Dan Parker  2014 – current

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