ZooClub members learn more about the bone structure of different animals.
Tsholofelo Matsholos Masebe studies animal blood under the microscope.
Onderstepoort students demonstrate how blood is drawn from an animal.
ZooClub members watch as a bird is being treated during a tour around the NZG veterinary unit.
ZooClub members enjoy testing the free stethoscopes they received from the Onderstepoort students.
On 26 May 2012, six fifth-year students from the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute of the University of Pretoria visited the NZG to give talks to the ZooClub members (Zookies) on what veterinary science entails.
The morning began with a good turnout of Zookies, all eager to learn more about veterinary science. Each Onderstepoort student gave a talk on different aspects that they had encountered during their years of studying to become a vet and they explained to the ZooClub members what they can expect once they have qualified as vets. The Zookies also learnt about the school subjects, hard work and dedication necessary to become a vet.
The activities varied from learning how to read X-rays to working with real animal skeletons! The Zookies also learnt how to draw blood from an animal using a cold drink bottle filled with red coloured water, with a pipe attached to it and a syringe to demonstrate the 'blood' being drawn out the pipe/vein. Ticks, the problems they cause to animals and the different diseases they spread were also explained.
The morning was full of hands-on opportunities, where the learners first got to help with drawing 'blood' and then looked at real animal blood under the microscope. The Onderstepoort students did a great job teaching the ZooClub members. They ensured that it was a fun-filled morning for the Zookies with a mini quiz on what they had learnt and rewarded them with various fun educational prizes such as books on animals. The final treat of the day for the Zookies was receiving their very own stethoscope to take home with them.
The interactive day was not over yet. After the talks and hands-on activities, the Zookies were taken to the NZG veterinary unit where they got the opportunity to walk around and see where the animals are treated and cared for. By chance when the ZooClub members arrived at the veterinary unit, Dr Ian Espie was busy treating a bird's wounded foot and he allowed the Zookies to observe the procedure.
The Zookies were then split up into groups and the Onderstepoort students explained to them what happened in each section of the veterinary unit as well as the uses of a range of veterinary equipment.
All the ZooClub members agreed that it was well worth attending the Onderstepoort talks and thoroughly enjoyed the tour around the NZG veterinary unit. It was truly a 'vets in the making' day for all.
Claire Fordred, Intern, NZG
The National Zoological Gardens of
South Africa is a proud facility of
the National Research Foundation