The African continent is home to a diverse collection of plant and wildlife species. Our biodiversity is one of the highest in the world. We are world renowned for our eco-tourism and wonderful big five safari experiences. Unfortunately we are fighting a war against poaching. Our wildlife that defines Africa is especially under threat. Rhino and elephant poaching incidents are ever increasing and conservation efforts should include new approaches to utilize our resources available. Saving the victims of poaching incidents can contribute significantly to the survival of our iconic wildlife species.
The Faculty of Veterinary Science Onderstepoort is a South African veterinary training facility outside Pretoria. This world renowned faculty provides internationally recognized veterinary degrees. They do not offer specialized wildlife veterinary or rehabilitation training or opportunities. Once veterinarians have qualified it is up to them to gain the necessary practical wildlife experience with a veterinarian. The wildlife veterinary field is still emerging and few opportunities exist to spend time with an experienced wildlife veterinarian. Many students are forced to enter the wildlife field without practical experience on our endangered species.
The future of some endangered species relies on reintroducing rescued wildlife back into an intact functional ecosystem. The lack of research on release techniques of rehabilitated wildlife may be one of the contributing factors that many rehabilitation centres do not release healthy wildlife. We believe the success of a rehabilitation centre should be measured by the successful release and integration of rehabilitated wildlife into a wild population. Therefore the research opportunities on release techniques based on sound scientific principles are extensive. This topic has barely been investigated and new findings can provide a platform for rehabilitation centres to base their release techniques on.