The Bateleurs is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and aims to continue promoting its environmental mission. As a South African nonprofit and registered NGO, we take pride in serving as "eyes in the sky" by providing aerial support to conservationists and environmentalists.
We seek to engage more general aviation pilots who share our passion for environmental conservation, to spread the word about our service amongst conservation organisations', and to secure funding ensuring our operational sustainability for the next 25 years.
Over the past quarter century, we have ‘put back’ over R70 million into conservation efforts. Our support encompasses conservation organizations, policymakers, scientists, media, community leaders, and activists who require aerial assistance for their environmental initiatives.
The Bateleurs, is known as "southern Africa's environmental air force," recognized for its pivotal role in addressing critical environmental challenges. Our fleet of volunteer pilots has grown steadily through word-of-mouth within the aviation community. These dedicated pilots operate fixed-wing, helicopter and Light Sport Aircraft to contribute to various conservation projects.
The inception of The Bateleurs in 1998 can be traced back to Nora Kreher, who arranged a volunteer pilot on a dedicated conservation flight during the campaign to protect Lake St. Lucia's dunes from mining. Collaborating with internationally acclaimed conservationist Dr. Ian Player, Kreher arranged to fly politicians and journalists over the dunes, showcasing the environmental damage from the air. This unique perspective played a crucial role in designating Lake St. Lucia, now iSimangaliso, as a World Heritage Site.
Since then, The Bateleurs has undertaken hundreds of missions across southern Africa. Our work ranges from anti-poaching initiatives, such as rhino dehorning, to wetland surveys and support for endangered species like vultures and red-billed oxpeckers. Our missions have spanned thousands of miles, crossing borders from South Africa into southern African neighbouring states, for tasks like relocating wild dogs or covering shorter distances as dictated by the needs of Conservation organizations.
As we embark on our next quarter century with a growing team of over 200 pilots, our primary objective remains continuous expansion. Whether it's increasing the number of missions completed for conservation initiatives, pilots joining our cause, or securing funds to sustain our vital work, The Bateleurs is committed to upholding Nora Kreher's legacy of providing environmental and conservation support into the future.