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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'

ZooClub members investigate SA's biomes

As part of the National Zoo's initiatives in support of International Year of Biodiversity, members of the ZooClub visited the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) to learn more about our country's amazing biodiversity heritage.

After being divided into groups, ZooClub members participated in a challenging game to identify elements of biodiversity in a specific environment. Each participant received a worksheet to identify the different biomes found in South Africa. Questions specifically zoomed in on the Succulent Karoo and Fynbos biomes.

ZooClub members sporting their bright yellow T-shirts get absorbed in a challenging game to identify elements of biodiversity. One of the groups plan their strategy. Participants collect and record data.
ZooClub members were fascinated by the multiple functions and uses of grass. Each participant received a worksheet to identify the different biomes found in South Africa. Learners get to learn more about biodiversity. Learners share their findings during the report back session.

The investigative skills of the learners were put to the test - groups were required to answer the questions by planning their approach well before collecting and recording the data.

The learners were particularly fascinated by the multiple functions and uses of grass, and the differences between grass and sedges. They learnt about the ecological significance of grass, its use in medicinal applications as well as the significant role it plays in protecting our soil.

Each group also had to investigate the most important threats to a specific biome. The findings were recorded and shared with the rest of the learners during the discussion and report back session.

Learners not only enjoyed the excursion, but came away with a greater understanding of the value and importance of biodiversity, its economic value in terms of tourism, key threats to the different biomes found in South Africa and the wide range of career opportunities available in this field.

SANBI manages a host of biome programmes which focus on South Africa's biodiversity hotspots. The aim is to ensure that the country's most important biodiversity regions such as Grasslands, Wetlands, Succulent Karoo, etc are protected in a sustainable and beneficial way.