The Faculty of Veterinary Science of the University of Pretoria is situated on the Onderstepoort campus of the University some 20 km north west of the Hatfield main campus and some 15 km due north of the city centre of Pretoria (Tshwane). It aims to be an internationally accredited seat of veterinary excellence, strives to be globally competitive, regionally pre-eminent and locally relevant whilst providing an effective veterinary interface to Africa. The Faculty has a proud tradition in veterinary and para-veterinary education, research and service-rendering which dates back to the early 1920s. Read more...
In 2009, Dr Cindy Harper, Director of the University of Pretoria (UP) Veterinary Facultyís Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL), established a method to obtain a DNA profile from a rhino horn. Poaching of rhinoceros for their highly valued horn was only beginning to show signs of increasing at the beginning of 2009. As poaching of rhinoceros rapidly escalated during the next few years, Harper, together with investigators from the Kruger National Park and the South African Police Forensic Science Laboratory in Pretoria, considered how the discovery could assist with the protection of rhino in this international war.
On World Game Ranger Day, 31 July, the Game Ranger Association of Africa (GRAA) held its annual Rhino Conservation Awards Ceremony to acknowledge the committed efforts of individuals and organisations involved in the protection of our endangered species. Those honoured during the ceremony included Drs Gerhard Steenkamp and Johan Marais, two outstanding veterinarians from the University of Pretoria.
In spite of significant international interest in South African horses, investment in this sector currently falls far short of its potential. The main reason for this is the prevalence of African horse sickness (AHS). In a multi-disciplinary collaboration to improve research initiatives in AHS, UPís Equine Research Centre based at the Faculty of Veterinary Science and the University of the Witwatersrand, along with various other role players, have developed a strategy to be presented to various potential trading partners.
The Faculty of Veterinary Scienceís Prof Darryn Knobel is in pursuit of eliminating dog rabies across Africa through a novel approach to rabies research. Rabies claims the lives of thousands of people across the continent every year but, for the first time in decades, using evidence-based research the elimination of this devastating disease is considered feasible. Knobel uses a simple method of understanding demographics to determine the vaccination thresholds required for rabies to die out.
Three rhinos per day are lost to poaching in South Africa. At this rate there will be no more wild rhinos left in the country by 2020. The world should realise this has far surpassed a poaching problem. This is no longer about the person who trespasses to kill an animal so that he can feed his family. This is organised crime and a war we are losing.