Minister Barbara Creecy visits South Africa’s National Zoological Gardens

Republic of South Africa: Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment
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On Thursday, August 4, 2022, the Minister for Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy, along with South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) board members and management, visited South Africa’s National Zoological Gardens (NZG) to the contribution to biodiversity, research, scientific services, animal welfare, nature conservation, tourism and public awareness.

The Chair of the SANBI Board, Professor Edward Nesamvuni, welcomed the Minister’s visit as it provided the Minister with an opportunity to gain a better understanding of SANBI’s pioneering fundamental research and scientific services, especially those activities that positively contribute to policy action. , nature regulation services and associated enforcement and compliance.

“SANBI’s work in research and scientific services, including genetics and DNA profiling, veterinary services and the Biobank, contribute significantly to information on biodiversity, species conservation, biodiversity and health, and wildlife economics , and also to fight crime in the wild,” said Minister Barbara. creepy.

During her visit, the Minister had the opportunity to see facilities including state-of-the-art equipment used to develop marker-based systems to advance genomic research at the Center for Conservation Science. The work includes Next-Generation Sequencing, developing genetic approaches to perform phylogenetic assessments (using entire mitochondrial genomes or regions of nuclear and mitochondrial sequence) within and between taxa, to understand evolutionary processes and patterns, and to identify species, identify units within species, management units or cryptic species. The results of this process are valuable in ensuring informed conservation measures for species exposed to a variety of threats.

In the Genetics Services Unit, the minister saw the tools, technologies and guidelines applied in wildlife forensics and used to expand wildlife DNA databases to ensure effective compliance, defensible and credible forensic testing to prevent crime with wildlife and to contribute to wildlife management. trade.

“Research is applying new genetic tools for the identification of hybrids in a variety of animal species with model thresholds for genetic testing,” explains Professor Ramagwai Sebola, Chief Executive Officer: Foundational Biodiversity Science at SANBI. “This is a service provided to SANParks, provincial conservation authorities/agencies, and the wildlife industry to maintain genetic integrity and provide information about the genetic status of populations in the wild.”

The minister also visited the animal hospital and the veterinary unit that carries out animal operations and post-mortem inspections using high-tech equipment.

During the visit, the Minister was given a tour of the facilities demonstrating SANBI’s commitment to a One Health approach focusing on the spread, prevalence and epidemiology of pathogens and the development of a database to assess risks and impact in order to develop response strategies. developing threats from wildlife. The visit included the Biobank where biological materials are kept for future research and decision making that contribute to the conservation of species.

In line with the commemoration of the inaugural Marine Protected Areas Day, on August 1, 2022, the minister visited the aquarium, the largest indoor aquarium in South Africa, and reiterated the importance of protecting marine ecosystems for environmental, social and economic purposes.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Republic of South Africa: Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment.

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