Media Release: Scientists meet in the Kruger National Park
The Executive Director of the Kruger National Park, Dr Bandile Mkhize welcomed 160 scientists and students from all over the world to a week of networking, presentations and events in Skukuza this week.
Scientific papers on “fire and water as abiotic drivers of savannas”, “the effects of aliens in a savanna ecosystem”, “herbivores and predators as modifiers of heterogeneity”, “socio-ecological systems” and “the effect of diseases in the ecosystem” were presented and discussed at the four day Science Networking Meeting that ended yesterday (7 April 2005).
“We want top class international scientists, including South Africans, working here as this exposes us to cutting edge science and stimulating new ideas. The KNP believes in regional scientific capacity building and, in this regard, all our international research partners are encouraged to invest in local capacity building,” explained Dr Mkhize at the opening.
One example of where scientists from all over the world have helped the KNP is with the revision of the monitoring programme and Thresholds of Probable Concern (TPCs), which are used to track ecosystem changes and outcomes of management actions.
At present, there are about 220 research projects registered in the KNP and, of these, South Africans lead 75% of them while foreigners lead about 25%. The KNP’s research section was established in 1950 and, ever since then, a team of researchers has been employed to acquire knowledge on how natural systems function in order to guide park management functions.
“Events like the KNP Science Network Meeting are becoming more important, not only for scientists to present papers on their research but also that our scientists can network with other scientists from around the world,” said Mr Danie Pienaar, the head of the KNP’s scientific services.
This was the third KNP Science Networking Meeting, which is now an annual event.
Raymond Travers, Media Relations Practitioner, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: 013 735 4116, cell: 082 908 2677 or E-mail
William Mabasa, HOD: Public Relations and Communications, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: 013 735 4363, cell: 082 807 3919 or E-mail.