Marlice van Vuuren and the N/a’an ku sê Success Story
A Namibian conservationist of note, Marlice van Vuuren is a small town girl who grew up to be one of the biggest forces in the Namibian conservation sector.
Together with her husband, she established and runs the N/a’an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary in central Namibia.
Raised in Eastern Namibia, she was introduced to conservation by her parents who were both big conservationists and avid farmers.
“It runs in my blood, I grew up with it and fell in love with it. As young as I can remember I wanted to become a vet,” she recalls fondly.
Marilce studied sport technology and psychology in Pretoria, South Africa. In her first year, she spent her December holidays working on a film which required her to train a vulture and a cheetah. This was a turning point for her.
“I said to my parents when I finished, I’m going to pay you back but I’m not going to go back to Pretoria and I’m really sorry,” she says.
She dropped out of school and went back to the farm, working for her parents as a waiter, later on as a chef and even became a tour guide.
She eventually met her husband during this time. Luckily for her, her husband completely bought into her passion for conservation and in no time, the pair sought an investor and bought a piece of land on which they built N/a’an ku sê in 2003.
They’ve since grown and expanded now expanded with their work covering an area of about ten thousand square kilometres around the clinic and they see at least 5 500 patients for free every year. The services at their clinic include cancer screening and cataract operations. They made headway in employing people from the San community in Epukiro, and started taking in animals from the area.
Most of their work involves educating community members about the importance of properly handling animals from the wild. They also carry out extensive research applicable to the conservation of animals and they work with PHD students and Masters students who use as a case study.
Listen to the full interview clip to learn more about the wonderful work of the N/a’an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary.
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