THE sixth annual Symposium of Contemporary Conservation Practice was held in Howick recently to explore the practice, science and value of nature conservation and to chart a renewed path towards addressing conservation challenges of the current era.
The symposium is an initiative of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife in partnership with Wildlands, the Endangered Wildlife Trust ,the Environmental Law Association, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of Zululand.
The link between conservation implementation and research is critical to effectively achieve conservation outcomes.
The Symposium of Contemporary Conservation Practice is a key event that provides a platform for both partnerships and synergies to develop in both fields.
“This symposium is not just a science forum.
“The scope focuses on conservation in its full context, which includes governance, science, management, decision-making, stake-holder engagement and the assessment of the effectiveness of efforts and interventions,” said Bheki Khoza, acting chief executive officer, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
Dr Roelie Kloppers, Wildlands Executive Director, says that the symposium has always been an important platform for analysing both the evolution of environmental and social challenges and the responses that have been developed to address them.
“While our focus has traditionally been limited to the terrestrial environment, this year we launched a new marine programme aptly called WildOceans.
“Through our integrated approach we hope to better understand the impact of our actions in the terrestrial zone on our marine environment, and, to develop effective strategies for dealing with negative impacts of human actions on our oceans.”
WildOceans’ participation, led by Dr Jean Harris, brought students from the Ocean Stewards programme, a research platform that allows marine biology students mentorship and exposure to practical marine conservation.
These students were given the opportunity to present their research to all in attendance throughout the duration of the symposium.
Wildlands once again sponsored the KZN Premiers Award presented to Nantale Nsibirwa for her work, which identified critical source areas and transport pathways of diffused pollution in the Umgeni catchment.
Samantha Hofmeyr was awarded the runner-up prize for her work on the impacts of scuba diver activity on the coral reefs of Sodwana Bay.
Both received funding to attend any relevant international (winner) and national (runner-up) conference in the next 12 months, respectively. - Supplied.