Hans Hoheisen Wildlife Research Platform
The Hans Hoheisen Wildlife Research Platform (HHWRP) of the University of Pretoria consists of three units: the Mnisi Community Programme (MCP), the Hluvukani Animal Clinic (HAC) and the Hans Hoheisen Wildlife Research Station (HHWRS). Each contributes to the "One Health" research and training focus of the Platform at the community-conservation interface.
The Faculty has an established research programme within the Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) of southern Africa. These large protected areas straddle neighbouring countries allowing wildlife to move freely between protected areas across national borders. However, the free movement of wildlife bring wild animals in closer contact with pastoralist communities and their livestock as well as their companion animals. This closer contact increases the risk for the transmission of infectious pathogens between multiple hosts, including humans, which necessitates disease control measures in and around TFCAs. Over and above the risk of disease transmission, the interaction between communities and conservation areas poses many more threats, such as human-wildlfe conflict and the indiscriminant use of natural resources. Yet, it also provides opportunities to work with multidisciplinary teams across the wildlife-livestock interface to develop sustainable utilisation sation models for natural resources, access and benefit sharing models, and new policy approaches to these complex matters. Through a unique approach to research and training at the community-coservation interface in TFCAs, the HHWRP contributes to conservation, rural development, and capacity building.
Hans Hoheisen Wildlife Research Station
HHWRS is a research and training station managed by the University of Pretoria as part of a collaborative agreement with the Peace Parks Foundation(PPF) and Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency(MTPA). The Station is situated at the Orpen gate of the Kruger National Park in the Mpumalanga Lowveld. HHWRS facilities include accommodation, multiple accredited laboratories, library, animal housing and handling facilities as well as office space for researchers from UP as well as other institutions. The Station also has facilities suited for meetings and the presentation of courses, including a large auditorium.
HHWRS also hosts the office of the State Veterinarian, Orpen area, which serves the private and provincial reserves Sabi Sand, Manyeleti, Andover, Timbavati and Klaserie. It also serves the Mnisi Study Area.
Mnisi Community Programme
The MCP is a research and community engagement programme designed to facilitate under and postgraduate research and training activities of the UP in the Mnisi commuity. The Mnisi Study Area surrounds the Hluvukani village and is near to the HHWRS. The MCP has supported approximately 100 research and development projects in collaboration with communities, state departments, NGOs and leading local and international institutions. Research programmes are largely focused on the interface between conservation areas and their wildilfe which is separated by a game proof fence from neighboring rural communities and their livestock and cropfields.
The Mnisi Study Area consist of approximately 30 000 hectares of communal farmland which largely belongs to the Mnisi Traditional Authority, as well as two provincial game reserves: Manyeleti Game Reserve which is open to the Kruger National Park, and the Andover Game Reserve. Research and development projects focus mainly on applied One Health, zoonoses, parasitology, rangeland ecology, wildife health and conservation, livestock health and production, market access, and value chain development. Research findings are fed back to reserve management or community participants through feedback sessions and workshops. There have been farmers days with a range of topics, including training workshops for emerging farmers on disease identification and control. At the heart of the MCP are ten highly committed and talented Environmental Monitors. These community members are hosted by the MCP but are paid through a multistakeholder partnership between the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Kruger to Canyon Biosphere Reserve. The EMs assist with the implementation of all the research, training and commuity engagement projects of the MCP.
Hluvukani Animal Clinic
The HAC has been a training clinic for final year veterinary students since 2008. It was created with a partnership with the Mpumalanga Veterinary Services (MVS) to provide a clinic veterianry service to the local community and for UP staff and students to assist with disease control activities of MVS. HAC is a favoured two-week roation for local and foreign veterinary students as they get to see a wide variety of interesting veterinary cases, interact with the local famers and animal owners, give educational talks at the schools and have an interaction with the medical students from University of Witwatersrand.
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