Changes in management authority and names

The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa (NZG) has always been semi-government institution/agency. Initially it was part of the National Department of Sport, Art, Culture, Science and Technology.

In 1998/99 the National Department was divided and the NZG was repositioned under the National Department of Sport, Arts, and Culture.

On the 1st April 2004, the NZG was proclaimed as a National Facility repositioned under the management of the National Research Foundation, reporting to the National Department of Science and Technology.

In 2006 with the new mandate and strategy of the NZG resulted in the name change of the “Game Breeding Centre” to “Biodiversity Conservation Centre”, thereby aligning to the new mandate to ‘Conserve Africa’s Biodiversity’.

On the 1st April 2018, the NZG was again moved which the restructuring of National Government and the NZG then became part of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), reporting to the National Department of Environment, Fisheries and Forestry.

Biodiversity and research contributions

Mokopane Biodiversity Conservation Centre has and is activity participating and contributing towards the protection and understanding of our biodiversity.

The Centre has been role player in the following projects and successes:

2007 – 2011 – Red-billed Oxpecker Programme

The project started off as a need for a researcher (Dr Tiffany Plankton, University of Miami, USA) to complete her PhD pertaining to Red-Billed Oxpeckers. The need was to do research that could only be done in captivity focussing on feeding behaviour and food preferences.

The project resulted in the development and establishment of various protocols pertaining to the long term captive management of the species, the mass capture and transportation of the species.

During this time period over 550 birds where captured and relocated back to some of the historic areas where the species had become extinct due to the use of organophosphates. This was done in collaboration with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) Mr Arnold Le Roux, and a number of private land owners located in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, Howick falls, Eastern Cape and North Cape, Kimberly areas.

The Programme also resulted in the first successful breeding of Red-Billed Oxpeckers in captivity in the world to the F3 generation.

Together with these five scientific publications where published. Resulting in a PhD in Biology and a Bachelor’s degree of Technology in Nature Conservation.

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