South African National Parks released a statement recognising and celebrating the significant career of Mr Philip Prins, who is retiring after 40 years of dedicated service as the integrated fire manager for Table Mountain National Park.

Prins began his conservation career in 1980 as an assistant forester in the Cederberg Wilderness area, working at the forestry department, according to SANParks. In 1983, he transferred to the City of Cape Town, where he worked as a Parks and Forest Officer in the Parks and Forest Branch.

Throughout his career, he steadily progressed, eventually reaching the position of senior parks and forest officer, which he held until the establishment of TMNP in 1998. From that point forward, he continued his work within SANParks as TMNP’s integrated fire manager.

SANParks recognised Prins’ unwavering passion for expanding his knowledge and skills. Over the years, he reportedly obtained numerous qualifications, including a National Diploma in Forestry, a National Higher Diploma in Forestry Conservation, a National Diploma in Parks and Recreation Management and an Advanced Diploma in Public Administration.


Cape Town is at the forefront of sustainable development and environmental initiatives

During his more than two decades of service to SANParks, Prins left an indelible mark on the organisation and the ecosystems it oversees. His steadfast commitment to environmental stewardship, coupled with his exceptional leadership and visionary outlook, played a pivotal role in shaping TMNP’s fire management practices. As the integrated fire manager, Prins achieved several significant milestones, enhancing TMNP’s capacity to effectively manage and respond to fire incidents.

Some notable accomplishments during his tenure include the implementation of cutting-edge fire management strategies for TMNP, integrating state-of-the-art techniques with scientific research and community engagement. These strategies not only improved fire prevention and suppression efforts but also fostered ecosystem resilience and the conservation of fire-adapted species.

Prins forged strong partnerships with the City of Cape Town’s local fire department, volunteers and Expanded Public Works Programmes (EPWP), as well as local and international government agencies. These collaborations facilitated a coordinated and integrated approach to fire management, enabling the Park to respond swiftly to fire incidents while sharing expertise and resources.

Prins also contributed to the development of community outreach and education programmes, recognising the vital role that communities play in fire management.

Reflecting on his journey, Prins expressed his gratitude to everyone who has been part of his 25-year tenure at SANParks. He acknowledged the sacrifices his family made during extended fire suppression operations and thanked SANParks management and staff, partners, chief fire officers, EPWP, volunteer firefighting organisations and many others for their invaluable contributions to his career advancement.

He said:

‘Thank you to everyone that has been a part of my journey over the past 25 years in SANParks. From the sacrifices my family had to make during extended fire suppression operations to the SANParks management and staff, partners and various Chief Fire Officers, expanded public works programmes (EPWP), volunteer firefighting organisations, etc., and so many more, you have all played an important part in the advancement of my career. As no wildfire is the same, I am grateful that we have developed an integrated approach to combating fires in the Western Cape, and my hope is that these partnerships will be fostered and utilised to even greater heights.’

SANParks extended its deepest appreciation to Mr Philip Prins for his exceptional leadership, unwavering dedication and invaluable contributions to the field of conservation.

‘We extend our heartfelt appreciation to Mr Prins for his exceptional leadership and invaluable contributions to the field of conservation,’ concluded the statement.


She Is Forestry SA celebrates women in forestry

Featured image: SANParks – Table Mountain National Park / Facebook

Originally written by Sarah du Toit for Cape{town}ETC.