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Minister Barbara Creecy visits the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa

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 Minister Barbara Creecy visits the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
Minister Barbara Creecy visits the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa

1 On Thursday 4th August 2022, Ms. Barbara Creecy, Minister for Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, along with South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) board members and management visited the National Zoological Gardens (NZG ) from South Africa to review the installation.

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2 contribution to biodiversity, research, scientific services, animal welfare, conservation, tourism and public awareness.

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3 The Chairman of the SANBI Board, Professor Edward Nesamvuni, welcomed the Minister’s visit as it provided him with the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of SANBI’s state-of-the-art fundamental research and scientific services, in particular those activities that contribute positively in political action, regulation of wildlife.

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4 services and associated enforcement and compliance.

5 “SANBI’s work in scientific research and services including genetic and DNA profiling, veterinary services and the Biobank contributes significantly to information on biodiversity, species conservation, biodiversity and health, and the wildlife economy.

6 , in addition to combating wildlife crime,” said Minister Barbara.

7 hair-raising During her visit, the Minister had the opportunity to see facilities that include state-of-the-art equipment used for the development of marker-based systems to advance genomics research at the Center for Conservation Sciences.

8 Work includes next-generation sequencing, the development of genetic approaches to conduct phylogenetic assessments (using whole mitochondrial genomes or nuclear and mitochondrial sequence regions) within and between taxa, in order to understand evolutionary processes and patterns, as well as to identify species, units within species, management units or cryptic species.

9 The results of this process are valuable in ensuring informed conservation action for species that are subject to a variety of threats.

10 In the Genetic Services Unit, the Minister saw the tools, technologies and guidelines that are applied in wildlife forensics and used to expand wildlife DNA databases to ensure effective enforcement, testing defensible and credible forensics to mitigate wildlife crime and contribute to wildlife management.

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12 “Through research, novel genetic tools for hybrid identification are applied in a variety of wildlife species with model thresholds for genetic testing,” explained Professor Ramagwai Sebola, Chief Director: Foundational Biodiversity Science at SANBI.

13 .

14 “This is a service provided to SANParks, provincial conservation authorities/agencies, and the wildlife industry to maintain the genetic integrity and report on the genetic status of wildlife populations.”

15 The Minister also visited the animal hospital and the veterinary unit that handles animal operations and autopsies with high-tech equipment.

16 During the visit, the Minister gave a tour of the facilities demonstrating SANBI’s commitment to a One Health approach that focuses on the distribution, prevalence and epidemiology of pathogens and the development of a database to assess risks and impact for develop response strategies.

17 for wildlife disease threats.

18 The visit included the Biobank where biological materials are preserved for future research and decision-making that contribute to the conservation of species.

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

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