The Wilderness Foundation UK was founded in 1976 by Dr. Ian Player, international conservationist, and Sir Laurens van der Post, writer, explorer, and philosopher. Ian Player, a native of South Africa, is best known for saving the white rhinoceros from extinction.
Player established the first two protected wilderness areas in all of Africa, iMfolozi and St. Lucia in South Africa. With his Zulu guide and mentor Magqubu Ntombela, he founded the Wilderness Leadership School. At a time when it was illegal for people of different races to gather in South Africa, they established a multiracial program that became a worldwide movement dedicated to preserving wild spaces and enabling people to experience them.