Home Previous issues Zoo website Contact us Subscribe
 
June 2010 
Inside this issue ...
Holiday courses!
Culture comes to the vultures
Urban biodiversity?
Dr Emily Lane wins award
Director's comment
New arrival at Emerald Animal World
Stringent measures protect King penguins
NZG staff master penguin conservation skills
Maintaining an inland marine aquarium can be challenging!
First genetic assessment of pangolins in SA
Outbreak of deadly primate disease controlled
NZG hosts wildlife medicine courses for vets
ZooClub members investigate SA's biomes
Conservation Grapevine
World governments fail to halt biodiversity loss
Lions targeted for Chinese 'medicines'

 
The National Zoo’s Tracy Shaw (above) and Thobeka Ndlanzi (below) bond with the penguins during their training at Two Oceans Aquarium.
 
 
Thobeka learns more about the intricacies of penguin keeping and rehabilitation.
NZG staff master penguin conservation skills

Tracy Shaw and Thobeka Ndlanzi, Department of Collections and Conservation, NZG

In order to equip them for their highly responsible task of conserving the NZG's penguin collection, Dr Abeda Dawood, the NZG's Collections and Conservation Manager, with staff members Tracy Shaw and Thobeka Ndlanzi departed on a training visit to Cape Town early in April.

Their first port of call was Boulders Beach, where they were given an informative tour of the African penguin colony by Monique Ruthenberg of South African National Parks (SANParks), who manages the colony. The visit highlighted the dramatic decline in African penguin numbers and the need for immediate conservation action. It also served to convince the three NZG staff members to make the conservation of the African penguin a priority.

The three then attended the 21st Conference of PAAZAB (African Association of Zoos and Aquaria) where they participated in the African Penguin Workshop on the coordinated ex-situ management of African penguins. A draft document entitled "Minimum Standards for Seabird Rehabilitation Centres: Protocols and Facilities" was presented, discussed and fine-tuned to ensure that appropriate and effective care is given to seabirds in need of rehabilitation, and to give the birds the best possible chance of survival after their release.

The workshop participants decided that the NZG should be responsible for the compilation of the National African Penguin Studbook, which will ensure that this vulnerable species is carefully and effectively managed. The studbook will be managed by Tracy Shaw and Thobeka Ndlanzi.

After the conference, NZG Aquarium staff had an informative training visit to Two Oceans Aquarium and SANCCOB (South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds). Numerous topics were discussed and skills fine-tuned, including penguin husbandry and handling techniques, enclosure design, disease prevention, administration of medication and food via tubing techniques, cleaning and disinfecting techniques, and many other aspects of penguin keeping and rehabilitation.

The NZG staff gained vital information and skills relating to aquarium maintenance and management through positive interaction with the staff of these facilities.