During the official opening of the Hans Hoheisen Wildlife Research Station in August 2010, Peace Parks Foundation, with support from Turner Foundation, made available a donation towards priority research concerning veterinary issues in transfrontier conservation areas. The Research Station provides a dedicated platform for local and international researchers to conduct experimental work focused on animal diseases and related issues at the transfrontier interface between people, livestock and wildlife.
The wildlife research station provides a dedicated platform for local and international researchers to conduct experimental work focused on animal diseases and related issues at the transfrontier interface between people, livestock and wildlife.
The Hans Hoheisen Wildlife Research Station was refurbished and upgraded thanks to an investment by the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust (managed by Nedbank Private Wealth), Fondation Hoffmann, Alexander Forbes, Turner Foundation and Peace Parks Foundation.
Peace Parks Foundation, with support from the Turner Foundation, made a donation to prioritise research on veterinary issues in TFCAs. Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) was selected as the research topic to assess FMD vaccine efficacy under different vaccination regimes and to improve current diagnostic techniques.
In 2014, the environmental impact study for the development of the Hans Hoheisen Wildlife Research Station was completed and permission was obtained to develop the bio- and chemical waste disposal extensions. A Section 20 approval was also obtained from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to be able to conduct and process biological specimens in the laboratories.
The Hans Hoheisen Wildlife Research Station had a productive 2015. A grant from the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust funded the servicing and calibration of important laboratory equipment, including centrifuges, microscopes, weights, autoclaves, and biohazard and laminar flow cabinets. The correct functioning of this equipment is vital to maintaining the accreditation status of the laboratories at the research station and ensuring that research results are accurate. The laboratories are crucial to conducting veterinary, ecological and other research on the difficulties faced by TFCAs, and gaining insight into and finding solutions to problems.
A number of research projects were conducted during the year. One involved collecting rodents from nearby nature reserves, communal croplands and houses in the communities adjacent to the reserves. The study compared the makeup of the rodent populations at the different sites and collected biological samples to look at diseases carried by the animals that may pose a risk to other animals and humans.
Another exciting project was to help a local reserve conduct its census of carnivores. This is an important project in which many postgraduate and graduate students participate. The study comprises biological sampling (blood, internal and external parasites, faeces and hair) as well as morphometric sampling (measuring the length and weight of a variety of parts of the body). The animals were also microchipped and photographed for identification, and vaccinated against the rabies virus, which is a threat to carnivores in the area. This valuable research will give insight into the health and population dynamics of carnivores in the reserve.
A Zoonotic Research Prioritisation workshop on Peri-Urban Human–Animal–Environment Interface was conducted by the Belgium Institute in collaboration with the India Research Initiative and the University of Pretoria. Zoonoses refers to diseases that can move between animals and people. [OK om dit so te verduidelik?] The workshop trained selected researchers to study the zoonotic research priorities for the next five years for a number of countries in Africa, Asia and South America. This interesting research could provide valuable insight into future research on zoonoses.
Later in the year a Wildlife Poison workshop was held to teach delegates how to handle animals, both alive and dead, that had been poisoned. A Biodiversity Monitoring workshop, presented by the University of Cape Town’s Animal and Demography Unit, taught delegates how to monitor a variety of species.