Kruger Park boss tackles anti-poaching, land claims head-on

Managing executive of the Kruger National Park, Glenn Phillips. Picture: Lowvelder.

The Kruger Park boss leads by example and from the front, and he recently received a leadership award in recognition of just that.

Speak to the Kruger National Park’s (KNP) management team members and they will confirm that managing executive of the KNP Glenn Phillips is the ultimate team player, reports the Lowvelder.

This point is underscored when he explains that the most important decisions he can make as a leader of the KNP are those that he can include his team in. It is also one of the reasons Phillips recently received the KLCBT/KPMG Leadership Award.

This humble and dynamic leader believes in leading from the front since April 2015. Not the sort of manager you would easily find in the office.

ALSO READ: Sewage spillage threatens the health of Lowveld residents

On Ranger Day in the park, you would find him right there in the fray, running with the rangers and being part of the team. “It is not to say because I am the chief executive that I am better than the rest,” said Phillips.

His motto is: “Listen, care and respect.”

During his biannual tours of the park, when he visits every camp, he listens carefully to the challenges faced by the employees. He also believes it is important to give feedback on burning issues. What guides his behaviour towards others is an innate respect for their opinions.

“Respect is what it is all about. Setting an example is part of that. People need to see me carrying out my values. Honesty is the other guideline that I would like to pass on. To me, making an apology when one is wrong is also respect,” explained Phillips.

Setting an example is also the reason why you will regularly see him stop in the park to pick up litter and why you won’t catch him speeding. He stands by strong, enduring relationships as a way to bind an organisation together.

“We need clear principles to guide us when working with people. Mine comes from the Bible and specifically the Ten Commandments. It helps you separate wrong from right every time.”

To make the KNP a safe haven for conservation-minded scientists, animal lovers and visitors, Phillips has a three-pronged approach – short-, middle- and long-term. “There are the long-term factors that we don’t really have any control over, like the drought. We can but manage this well by seeing to our responsibilities to communities downstream of our rivers, but also to our own needs.”

The anti-poaching wars remain an enduring challenge on any time scale.

To Phillips, who is a people-orientated person, the relentless emotional onslaught on his rangers remains a concern.

“We need to keep the rangers motivated to win the anti-poaching wars and must see to ranger wellness in a real and committed way,” remarked Phillips.

ALSO READ: Hippo hounded by Lions takes out its frustration on Land Rover

On the poaching front there is also another new challenge to be faced. “Where there is poacher and tourist interaction as has happened, our response is very good, but we need to keep an eye closely on this challenge and be prepared to face it.”

In the medium- and long-term, Phillips wants to see to it that sustainable benefits are put into place for communities around the KNP.

“Unhappy communities on our borders can be a bigger threat than poachers. We need to put sustainable benefits for these communities into place with a special view to sharing resources like water. We must release water at the right rate into the rivers for crops and per agreement with countries like Mozambique,” he concluded.

Caxton News Service

today in print

today in print