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Media Release: World Scientists gather in the Kruger National Park

14 March 2017

The Kruger National Park (KNP) will host a magnitude of scientists and researchers from around the world at the 15th Annual Savanna Science Network Meeting which will take place from 12 – 16 March 2017 at the Skukuza’s Nombolo Mdluli Conference Centre.

According to the SANParks Acting Head of Communications, William Mabasa, “the meeting will host about 200 delegates representing 79 different scientific and conservation organisations from 14 countries around the globe; which makes it one of the most crucial events in the organisational calendar. This meeting has grown from one encouraging scientific dialogue around biological research in the KNP to one now encouraging a broader social-ecological savanna focus from across different continents”; Mabasa explained.

The programme will include 110 presentations and 28 poster presentations; providing an opportunity for scientists to share their latest research findings conducted in national parks and other conservation areas within the savanna biome. This includes numerous research projects from conservation areas mostly within South Africa (with KNP the best represented), but also drawing in relevant research and understanding from other savanna protected areas across the globe, including Australia, South America, USA and Asia.

Many topical issues in ecological and social sciences will be covered during the four days’ presentations. These include:

  • Issues related to conservation management e.g. restoration, monitoring animals and plants, river management, problem animal management, animal reintroductions, etc.
  • Ecological issues e.g. fire, nutrients, soils, hydrology, climate, predation, herbivory, disease, etc. and
  • Social issues e.g. poaching, tourism, beneficiation, ecosystem services, wildlife/livestock interface, etc., processes and a session dealing with the drought.

In order to provide a sound scientific platform from which to address the knowledge needs to manage biodiversity and protected areas in a changing world, SANParks scientists engage and collaborate with a wide range of national and international scientists, research partners and funders. A mix of basic and applied research, spanning the biophysical and social domains strengthens research and monitoring efforts as well as capacity building.

“The close interactions between academics and park authorities facilitated by this meeting are key to promoting pro-active evidence-based decision-making, and directing research into priority conservation management needs. As SANParks, we have been hosting this meeting for 15 years now which is an honour for us because many researchers rate this meeting as the leading savanna meeting in the world”, concluded Mabasa.

Issued by:
Communications & Marketing Department - Kruger National Park
Tel: 013 735 4262

Media enquiries:
William Mabasa
Acting Head of Communications, SANParks
Tel: 013 735 4363, cell: 082 807 3919

Reynold “Rey T” Thakhuli
GM: Media, PR & Stakeholder Relations, SANParks
Tel: 012 426 5203; Cell: 073 373 4999

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