Yolan Friedmann

Deputy director of the Endangered Wildlife Trust

Yolan has been the tireless and dedicated conservation manager and deputy director of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) since 2003, having worked for the trust since 1996. She has set a relentless pace at the EWT, a Southern African conservation NGO that aims to conserve threatened species and ecosystems. She is also the founder and programme manager of the IUCN’s Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG) Southern Africa, a regional CBSG network that she initiated in 2001.

One of the highlights of her career so far was the editorship and publication of the Red Data Book for the Mammals of South Africa – a Conservation Assessment (2004), the result of 18 months of data editing and collation by more than 90 scientists. When Yolan lets off steam outside the office, she goes running – Comrades and the Two Oceans marathons and other ultra-distance events – mountain-biking or horse-riding.

Her vision for the future South Africa is of a society that values the environment and all forms of life, is socially equitable and just, treats humans and animals with compassion and dignity, and demonstrates a collective social conscience. “It is because I believe this is possible – or at least should be pursued – that I have dedicated my life to conservation. I need to feel I have made some improvement, even if slight, during my time on Earth.”

Lunch Spot: Picnic in Drakensburg; Espresso, Parkhurst