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|Ian Cedric Player|
Ian Player and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld (1981)
15 March 1927|
Johannesburg, South Africa
|Died||30 November 2014
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
|Employer||Natal Parks Board|
Ian Cedric Audley Player DMS (15 March 1927 – 30 November 2014) was a South African international conservationist.
Born in Johannesburg, Player was educated at St. John’s College, Johannesburg, South Africa and served in the 6th South African Armoured Division attached to the American 5th Army in Italy 1944–46.
His conservation career started with the Natal Parks Board in 1952 and whilst Warden of the Umfolozi Game Reserve, he spearheaded two key initiatives:
- Operation Rhino - that saved the few remaining southern race of white rhino.
- Protected status for the Umfolozi and St. Lucia Wilderness Areas - The first wilderness areas to be zoned in South Africa and on the African continent.
Dr. Player was the Founder of the Wilderness Leadership School.
This led to the formation of the International Wilderness Leadership Foundation (WILD), the Wilderness Foundation SA, Wilderness Foundation UK, Magqubu Ntombela Foundation not to mention the World Wilderness Congresses, first convened in 1977.
He was the recipient of two honorary doctorates:
- Doctor of Philosophy, Honoris Causa from the University of Natal.
- Doctor of Laws (LLD) (h.c.) from Rhodes University.
His archives and legacy are owned and managed by Marc Player, who has initiated several projects including books (Into the River of Life) a feature-length movie, a TV series built around Operation Rhino and the PLAYER INDABA which seeks global "PLAYERS' to raise funds to fight the extension of various threatened animal species.
The famous movie director and producer Howard Hawks, wanted a movie about people who catch animals in Africa for zoos, a dangerous profession with exciting scenes the likes of which had never been seen on-screen before. The name of his blockbuster movie is Hatari!, starring John Wayne. Hawks increased his knowledge on animal catching from the humane work of Dr.Player. In 1952 South Africa was disastrously embarked to eliminate all large wild animals to protect livestock, and only 300 white rhinos survived. Player then started his famed rhino catching technique to relocate and save the white rhinos. Player’s humane project was called Operation Rhino and the renowned film documentary named Operation Rhino was produced. Hawks studied this film documentary repeatedly to help incorporate aspects of it into his film Hatari!.
In June 1964, Player appeared on the panel show To Tell the Truth as himself, highlighting his role as warden of Hluhluwe–Imfolozi Park and his work protecting white rhinos. Host Bud Collyer noted that scenes of white rhinos shown at the beginning of the episode were from Ivan Tors' movie Rhino!, released a few weeks earlier, and for which Player acted as a technical advisor.
- Men, Rivers and Canoes – 1964 - Reissued 2007 - ISBN 978-0-9802501-2-1
- White Rhino Saga – 1972 - ISBN 978-0-00-211938-2
- Big Game – 1972 - ASIN: B0007BO5E4
- Man and the Wilderness – 1986 - ASIN: B0007BQ0FG
- Zululand Wilderness: Shadow and Soul – 1997 - ISBN 978-0-86486-340-9 - 
- Ian Player Perspective, stories by and about Dr. Ian Player
- Walters, Paul (2003). "CITATION by the Rhodes University Public Orator, Professor Paul Walters" (doc). Rhodes University. Retrieved 2007-06-30.
- Thomas McIntyre, May/June 2012, "Fifty Years of HATARI! – The Story of Most Expensive Safari In the World", Sports Afield, pg 70
- Todd McCarthy, Howard Hawks: the grey fox of Hollywood, New York, Grove Press, 1997, pg 575, ISBN 0-8021-1598-5
- "Ian Player, Gail Erbeck, Pepita Riera". What's My Line. 8 June 1964. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
- "Rhino!". IMDb. Retrieved 4 October 2016.