The Bateleurs came into being in 1998 as a result of a flight over the Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park by South African conservationist, Nora Kreher. Nora was inspired by seeing the added benefits which an aerial perspective can bring to any stakeholder charged with making critical environmental decisions. Gathering together her many pilot contacts, Nora founded The Bateleurs in order to fly missions for conservation and the environment. Today the organisation comprises approximately 130 volunteer pilot members, each with their own light aircraft, all of whom are dedicated to preserving the environment. This is achieved by flying missions at the request of a broad range of beneficiary organisations or individuals who need an aerial perspective of the issue they are assessing or addressing.
The Bateleurs is one of the largest environmental, flying, not-for-profit organisations in Africa.
With so much beauty surrounding Southern Africa, the environmental degradation happening in our region is shocking. Nowhere is this more clearly visible than from the air.
The Bateleurs, a non-profit, Section 21 organisation, with over 130 volunteer pilots and aircraft, offers its beneficiaries, donors and the public the opportunity to view the environment from another perspective – an aerial perspective. In the past ten years the organisation has co-ordinated hundreds of missions, throughout ten different countries, in support of environmental issues.
In terms of strategic context, The Bateleurs’ mission is well-aligned with the United Nations Millenium Goals; ensuring environmental sustainability and assisting with the integration of the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes. The Bateleurs missions are far-reaching in terms of raising public awareness through various media channels, and through providing decision-makers with a range of different aerial perspectives.
By assisting more than 120 beneficiary organisations, including wildlife conservation bodies, government decision-making bodies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and many others dedicated to conservation, The Bateleurs provides decision-makers, researchers, educators, NGOs and the media with information which assists them to make sound environmental decisions.
60% of our missions are for non-profit organisations; 15% are for government and policy-makers; 15% are for media and journalists; and the remaining 10% are for education, youth and disadvantaged communities. There is no charge to any of these organisations for the environmental missions flown for them by The Bateleurs.
Our missions include identifying illegal mining, roads and housing the Wild Coast, tracking cheetah, wild dog, leopard or elephant in various conservation areas, counting dugong, the giant sable or other rare species, and often assisting groups with aerial surveys that save their personnel hours or even days on the ground. A rigorous process is in place to review and approve (or not) all flight requests, to monitor missions, and to track all The Bateleurs’ activities.
This increasingly important conservation resource requires funds to remain active. Since 1998 The Bateleurs has raised more than R2.7 million from corporates, donors, trust funds and philanthropists, not including donations-in-kind. The Bateleurs pilot members and their aircraft provide the equivalent of 70% of the annual budget, and the balance is sourced through fundraising activities. Our existing management structure is efficient and streamlined, with a highly motivated and passionate Board of Trustees, a growing number of volunteer pilot members, and a salaried staff of one.
We invite all individuals, organisations and donors to partner with The Bateleurs in its ‘flying for the environment in Africa’.