Scientists and conservationists hold annual symposium in Howick

A species identification course for Western Indian Ocean fisheries observers held at uShaka Sea World

From 3 to 7 November, scientists and conservationists from around South Africa, and some of their international counterparts, gathered in Howick for the annual Symposium of Contemporary Conservation Practice, hosted by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, together with the Wildlands Conservation Trust, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and the Universities of KwaZulu-Natal and Zululand

With over 300 delegates the conference provided a vibrant mix of research results, conservation practices, legal topics, monitoring projects and planning issues. The managers, scientists, policy makers, tourism specialists, NGOs and many students and interns in attendance helped to ensure that the sessions were varied and discussions stimulating. Special workshops included sessions on rhino poaching, invasive aliens, stewardship and evidence-based conservation.

Dr Sean Fennessy collects biological and genetic samples from fish on South Africa's Thukela Bank 

Scientists from SAAMBR’s Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI), who have been intimately involved in coastal and marine research and conservation in KwaZulu-Natal for more than 60 years, were well represented at the conference.

SAAMBR’s Research Director and CEO, Dr Larry Oellermann, chaired a marine session, while Dr Sean Fennessy presented the results of his work on "Changes in the abundance of shallow-water elasmobranchs off the East Coast of South Africa – attributable to trawling or not?"

Dr Sean Porter presented a paper co-authored with colleagues in the marine conservation planning field, titled "Marine biodiversity and protected area targets – a global review with recommendations for South Africa".

Pickersgill's reed frogs form part of the frog conservation programme

SAAMBR’s Conservation Strategist Judy Mann gave a presentation, co-authored with the uShaka Sea World Dangerous Creatures team and the EWT Threatened Amphibian Programme, on uShaka Sea World’s work on frog conservation.

Often the challenges facing conservation in South Africa seem insurmountable, but this symposium highlighted that many people around the country are committed to conserving our amazing biodiversity – for the future benefit of all South Africans.

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