The purpose of the Animal Collections and Conservation Department is to oversee all management and husbandry aspects relating to the animal collections of the NZG, and to promote and conduct conservation activities that focus on population sustainability in ex situ as well as in situ environments.
The animal collections of the NZG are the direct responsibility of the Animal Collection and Conservation Department. The department operates over two facilities. The main facility located in Tshwane is an 84-hectare ex situ based facility, which is home to approximately 5 000 different mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates, comprising of around 600 species and subspecies. One of its unique features is that it has the largest inland aquarium in Africa, which also has a marine fish component. It is also the only zoo in South Africa that is home to Koalas, Okapi, Komodo Dragons and Forest buffalo, to name but a few.
The second facility, the Mokopane Biodiversity Conservation Centre (MBCC), located 200 km north of Tshwane, has both an ex situ and in situ component. The centre is 1 394 hectares in size and hosts approximately 830 animals of 42 different species and subspecies directly in its care. In the reserve component, a total of 105 tree species, 71 grass species and 173 free-ranging bird species have also been identified. In 2007, the MBCC was proclaimed as a protected area as a Fossil Hominid Site of SA: Mokopan Valley.
The primary activities of the Animal Collection and Conservation Department include the day to day husbandry and monitoring of the animal collection; population management to ensure sustainability of the collection; enhancement of visitor experience through modern and exciting enclosures; leading and participating in conservation-related programmes and projects; and providing a platform for zoo based research and science advancement.
The primary objective for the Animal Collection and Conservation Department is to “Establish a world-class zoological garden and conservation organisation”.
The following strategic objectives enables to department to achieve its primary objective:
- Fine-tune Africa-focused collection of animals.
- Provide high quality & modern facilities for the animal collection and protect their five freedoms
- Maintain an animal collection that is line with the zoo’s research, conservation and science advancement objectives
- Implement an integrated & comprehensive record-keeping & zoo information system for effective animal management, linked to ZIMS and other global databases
- Maintain the highest standards of animal care, welfare and health for the zoo’s animal collection in compliance with PAAZA and WAZA codes as well as (inter)national legislative imperatives
- Entrench environmental sustainability in all the organisation’s operations
- Participate in and lead global species management programmes
- Implement flagship in-situ conservation projects in aid of endangered species and their habitats