Hans Hoheisen Wildlife Research Station (HHWRS) is the flagship research and community engagement platform of the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria. The research station is located adjacent to Orpen Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park, and situated approximately 70 kilometres from the town of Hoedspruit. HHWRS has three core functions: research, community engagement and training. In addition to the Research and Community Engagement (CE) Platforms, managed by Prof. Armanda Bastos, HHWRS serves as the base station for final-year veterinary science students conducting clinic rotations at the Hluvukani Clinic, under the supervision of our resident clinician, Dr Louise Biggs. The station boasts a suite of laboratories, including a BSL2+ accredited laboratory and a biobank (all ably managed by Dr Jeanette Wentzel). We also offer comfortable and affordable self-catering accommodation for researchers and students, as well as auditorium and dining facilities for workshops and conferences (for more information please contact Dr Meyer de Kock).
HHWRS core team members include:
E-mail is the preferred form of communication; *part-time
The mission of HHWRS is to function as a field-based research facility where we follow a multidisciplinary approach to address complex challenges arising at the interfaces between livestock, wildlife and humans. We work with partners in our community to develop sustainable solutions specific to the needs of an area in which we have had an active presence for more than 15 years; Partnerships,People and Presence are key to finding lasting solutions.
Our vision is for HHWRS to be locally and internationally-recognized for research and training excellence and impactful community engagement, in a region of South Africa that is both accalimed for wildlife conservation and constrained by controlled animal diseases. Our strategic location puts us in the unique position to conduct research on a broad range of infectious diseases affecting both wild and domestic animals; all on the doorstep of an iconic wildlife reserve. As the only facility in South Africa, aside from the BSL3 Transboundary Animal Diseases (TAD) facility of the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, that can work on samples potentially infected with notifiable animal disease agents, we are able to lead and facilitate research on a diverse range of infectious pathogens and host species
- Research: conduct innovative and impactful research that improves animal, human and ecosystem health by focussing efforts on the human/animal/ecosystem interfaces, all within a One Health framework that aims to limit disease emergence and spill-over, improve livestock production and trade, and promote the sustainable utilisation of natural resources.
- Training: provide quality training opportunities to undergraduate and postgraduate students, researchers and the broader community through in-house laboratory training, workshops and conferences on a broad range of topics relevant to the communities we are part of.
- Community engagement: partner with stakeholders to facilitate community-led projects aimed at inclusivity, capacity-building, and empowerment; sustainability through science and community.
Laboratories and Facilities
The laboratories at the Hans Hoheisen Wildlife Research Station collectively function as a satellite research and diagnostic hub of the Department Veterinary Tropical Diseases, in the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria.
We specialise in research that is tailored to our location within the boundaries of the Greater Kruger National Park and the adjacent Bushbuckridge area focusing primarily on the domestic/wildlife interface. Our laboratory is equipped to process a broad range of samples on site and has the necessary expertise to assist with securing the relevant permits.
The laboratories are fully equipped to cater for various disciplines. The Molecular Biology Laboratory has real-time and conventional PCR capabilities, the Microbiology Laboratory is equipped with a biohazard cabinet and aerobic and anaerobic incubators, the Clinical Pathology Laboratory offers haeamatokrit and ELISA functionality and the General Laboratory is equipped with both stereo and light microscopes. Our laboratory is a fully equipped and DALRRD-accredited BSL2+ laboratory.
In addition to the laboratory and accommodation facilities, HHWRS also offers:
- An auditorium (with seating for 80 people)
- Conference room (with seating for 10 people)
- Visitor's office
- Dining facilities (outside catering required)
- Self-catering accommodation (for up to 20 persons, in 10 units)
- Camping site with communal kitchen and bathroom
- Swimming pool
- Walk-in fridge
- Post-mortem room
- Storage facilities