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June 2009 
Inside this issue ...
The National Zoo's changing role
A matter of fact
Hot news - exciting winter holiday courses
Identify those flighty swallows
The crocodile who swallows the sun
National Zoo gets nod of approval
Involving the community in growing produce
Tie me kangaroo down, sport
Komodo travels
ISIS - The next generation
Are elephants a threat to marula trees in the Kruger Park?
The molecular biologist as matchmaker
Building capacity for wildlife disease monitoring
Charles Darwin - reluctant proponent of the theory of evolution
Novel ways to bring science to the public
Conservation Grapevine
NZG snippets

Building capacity for wildlife disease monitoring

Dr Emily Lane, Disease Surveillance Unit, NZG

I was delighted to participate in the first Practical Wildlife Disease Investigation Course held at the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Veterinary Science.


“The course represents an exciting first step in our efforts to better understand the links between the health of animals and people in those areas where wildlife, domestic animals and humans live in close contact.” – Dr Emily Lane

Sixteen veterinarians attended the course – four from Mozambique, four from Zimbabwe and eight from South Africa. Front row: Dr Bruce Fivaz. 2nd row, from left: Dr Danny Govender, Dr Lin-Marie De Klerk-Lorist, Dr Sam Bila, Dr Lisa Marabini, Dr Avenlino Nhate and Dr Emily Lane. 3rd row, from left: Dr Heinz Kohrs, Dr Rui Branco, Dr Markus Hofmeyr, Dr Keith Dutlow, Dr Chris Foggin, Dr Dave Cooper, Prof Leon Prozesky and Dr Hein Muller. Back left: Dr Bjorn Reininghaus, Dr Nazaré Mangueze and Dr Chap Masterson. Back right: Dr Johan Steyl. Absent when the picture was taken: Dr David Zimmerman, Dr Ferreira du Plessis and Dr Oupa Rikhotso. View enlarged version

The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park will link the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique; Kruger National Park in South Africa; Gonarezhou National Park, Manjinji Pan Sanctuary and Malipati Safari Area in Zimbabwe, as well as two areas between Kruger and Gonarezhou, namely the Sengwe communal land in Zimbabwe and the Makuleke region in South Africa into one huge conservation area of 35 000 km˛.

The course was developed by SANParks, the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, the Faculty of Veterinary Science, South Africa’s National Department of Agriculture, the Agricultural Institute in Maputo and the Wildlife Unit in Harare.

Thanks to funding received from the Wildlife Conservation Society and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Zoo was able to fund the attendance of 12 of these vets and to provide each one with a necropsy kit for conducting field necropsies.

The course was designed to build capacity for wildlife disease monitoring in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area and in similar areas in the subregion where wildlife disease may impact on human livelihoods and health. Sixteen veterinarians from government service and private practice attended the course – four from Mozambique, four from Zimbabwe and eight from South Africa.

It also afforded the participants the opportunity to develop contacts with their colleagues and build a network of specialists in their field.

The course represents an exciting first step in our efforts to better understand the links between the health of animals and people in those areas where wildlife, domestic animals and humans live in close contact.