Scientist’s top scholarship

2012-10-29 00:00

UNIVERSITY of Zululand (Unizulu) BSc Agriculture Animal Science undergraduate, Lisa Chella has been awarded the 2013 Mandela Rhodes Scholarship.

Chella (21) from Mandini in northern KwaZulu-Natal will use the prestigious scholarship to complete her postgraduate studies in animal science. Her current research is focused on genetics of Zulu Nguni sheep, a breed that is indigenous to Africa.

“The species had become endangered over time due to cross breeding and commercialised farming. This has resulted in the decrease in pedigree Nguni sheep and unsustainable use of them as a food resource.

“The public has taken the species for granted and it has as a result become endangered; people are not aware that they are unique and there exists great need to conserve the remaining population.

“Nguni sheep possess remarkable characteristics; they have resilient immune systems and are environmentally adaptable. In addition, they are known to flourish in KwaZulu-Natal despite the province’s warm sub-tropical temperature,” said Chella.

An aspect of Chella’s research is also aimed at establishing the purity of the Nguni sheep gene. The study also touches on population figures, sustainability and recommendations on conservation strategies.

Chella’s blood analyses of the species are based on samples extracted from Nguni sheep from agricultural towns in northern KwaZulu-Natal, Msinga and Pietermaritzburg.

She added: “Agriculture is an exciting field to be in at the moment.

“There exists ample opportunity to focus research on sustainable use of resources, conservation, effect of cross-breeding experimentation, creating awareness and sharing knowledge with local communities to enhance subsistence farming.

“South Africa has a very diverse fauna and it is critical that their role in the ecosystem is highlighted.

“As researchers, we have resources at our disposal to make a significant positive impact on … the conservation of endangered species.”

As part of promoting research in indigenous fauna and developing sustainable methods of using indigenous resources, Chella is attending the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre in Turin, Italy from October 25 to 29.

The international biennial conference will be attended by delegates from 170 countries and will focus on food, agriculture, sustainable development, gastronomy, globalisation and economics. — Witness Reporter.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.