UP wildlife vet Dr Katja Koeppel receives prestigious Bernard Harrison Conservation Award

Posted on May 23, 2019

Dr Katja Koeppel, a wildlife veterinarian in the Faculty of Veterinary Science’s Department of Production Animals, was recently honoured with the Bernard Harrison & Friends Conservation Award for 2019.

The award – for outstanding contributions to conservation – was handed to her at a gala dinner during the Pan African Association of Zoo and Aquaria (PAAZA) conference in Pretoria by internationally renowned zoologist and zookeeper Bernard Harrison himself. Harrison was until 2002 CEO of the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) Group, one of the best and most profitable zoological institutions in the world. He is also known to Discovery Channel viewers as the host of the wildlife conservation awareness slot ‘Ask Bernard’.

“It is a great privilege to be presented with the award for conservation, as it is extremely important to me to make an impact on species preservation,” Dr Koeppel said.

PAAZA, of which Dr Koeppel is a longstanding member and auditor, brings together facilities from across Africa, and even from Europe and the United States. Its vision is to ensure that all African zoos and aquaria are effective and credible centres that inspire and foster care for nature. The organisation also aims to guide all African zoos and aquaria in becoming effective and accredited centres of animal welfare, conservation, education and research.

“The Department of Production Animal Studies, the Faculty and the University would like to congratulate Dr Katja Koeppel for being awarded the 2019 Bernard Harrison & Friends Conservation Award”, said Dr Rebone Moerane, Head of the Department of Production Animals. “We are proud of the dedication, passion and achievement shown by our colleague. In the process, she has also provided impetus to our continued efforts for global promotion and visibility of the Faculty.”

James Musinguzi, Executive Director of the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, is a previous winner of the Bernard Harrison & Friends Award for Conservation (in 2014).

Below: Left: The Bernard Harrison Conservation Award.

Dr Katja Koeppel (right) receives the prestigious award from Bernard Harrison.


- Author Chris van Blerk

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