Pretoria-The Centre for Conservation Science at the National Zoological Gardens (NZG) will be used as a platform to create awareness and to promote careers in science said Science and Technology Minister, Naledi Pandor.
Pandor, who visited the NZG on Wednesday, said the Centre's focus on conservation medicine and conservation science, places it in the forefront of innovation in zoo-based research.
As a component of a National Research Facility, the Centre will afford access to equipment and a well managed animal collection to the research and student community.
"The aim is to build professionals of the future that contribute to biodiversity conservation knowledge on a national and international level. The general public visiting the NZG will also be encouraged to walk through the Centre and view researchers at work.
"This will enable the NZG to contribute to the mandate of creating an awareness of science and promoting careers in science," said Pandor.
Pandor said the Centre will also conduct, coordinate and facilitate biodiversity research as a cross-cutting function within the NZG.
She said the Centre will include research that is conducted on the public interface in cooperation with the Commercial Services & Business Development and Conservation Education & Public Engagement departments. This specific research will enhance the NZG's ability to engage with visitors she added.
"The establishment of this Centre marks a milestone in the history of the NZG and places it amongst a select few zoos that have dedicated research capacity," she said.