Dr. Johan Marais, founder and CEO of ‘Saving the Survivors’, joined groupelephant.com’s Elephants, Rhinos & People (‘ERP’) program full-time as of the 1st of August.
Johan qualified as a veterinary surgeon at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Onderstepoort in 1991. He obtained a postgraduate degree, BVSc Honours, in 2001, followed by a Masters degree in wildlife in 2007. He has worked at the Faculty of Veterinary Science since 1998, except during 2006 and 2007 when he joined Virbac Animal Health as a Product Manager for wildlife, equines and antibiotics. He is also currently the President of SAVA (South African Veterinary Association).
Since 2007, Johan has published 12 scientific peer-reviewed articles in international journals and has presented some of this work in North America and Australia. He has experience in operating on injured elephant, roan, sable, buffalo and rhino. Johan has also built a stellar reputation based on his expertise in carrying out difficult and rarely-done procedures on elephants and rhinos. In some cases, he is the only person to ever have done the procedures in question.
Johan founded Saving the Survivors (‘STS’) in 2012. STS treats and rehabilitates victims of poaching incidents. Whilst STS will attend to the needs of any creature that survives a poaching incident, most of Johan’s efforts have been directed to rhinos given the vicious attacks many of them have become victim to, yet where they have survived. Many poaching victims have been given a chance of survival after undergoing various surgical procedures performed by the STS team since the programs' inception.
Johan is currently busy with research into the anatomy of the head and limbs of White rhino, use of antibiotics and painkillers in White rhino and gunshot wounds in White rhino. His work is without precedent, and groundbreaking. Due to Johans’ work on rhino and other wildlife, Saving the Survivors was awarded the winner in the 2014 Rhino Conservation Awards for Best Science, Research and Technology. In 2014 he also received the prestigious Kudu Awards from SANParks, and was nominated as a finalist in the Rapport Newsmaker of the Year 2014.
His hobbies include wildlife photography and travelling Africa. Johan has published a coffee table book in 2007, Great Tuskers of Africa, followed by a second book called In Search of Africa’s Great Tuskers, in 2010. He is currently working on a third book called The Last of the Great Tuskers. Johan’s photos have been featured in several international publications including Africa Geographic, Travel Africa Magazine, Getaway, Save the Elephants and the Africa Hunting Gazette.
Johan is excited about the prospect of the benefits that STS will have as an ERP initiative and a groupelephant.com brand. By widening the scope of our tactical interventional capability in elephant and rhino protection, STS is an important step towards fortifying ERP as a leading force in elephant and rhino welfare in Southern Africa.