The proposed agreement between the North West Parks & Tourism Board (NWP&TB) and the Copenhagen Zoo was taken a step forward with our recent visit to Denmark. The Chief Conservation Officer of the NWP&TB and the Park Manager of the Pilanesberg met with the directors of the Zoo in November to discuss a draft Memorandum of Agreement between the two organizations. The agreement provides for the Zoo to establish a research center, accommodation, funding of a research administrator, and bursaries for local and international scholars. The Pilanesberg Wildlife Trust will also get a boost with a further R120 000 pa for the next four years.
The relationship with the Zoo stretches back ten years, mainly through the black rhino work done in the park. The research centre, in particular, will swing the Zoo’s involvement in the Pilanesberg from annual to a day-to-day basis. Continuous wildlife research will probably start early 2009 and it will be a very significant improvement on the Park’s ability to fulfill its conservation role and find even greater international acclaim.
The two-day negotiations in Copenhagen did not leave much time for other activities, but what struck us the most, is the zoo’s level of investment in conservation, to ensure animal welfare and public enjoyment. The new enclosure for the three hippo cost in the region of R80 million, and the facility for the six elephant, in the region of R 300 million. These figures are not skewed much by the exchange rate of R1 / DK 0.7. This staggering investment could run Pilanesberg for more than 20years!
The Copenhagen zoo is one of the oldest zoos, established in 1859. It is a highly professionally run organization and was, this year, voted by the European Aquarium and Zoo Association, as the top zoo in Europe for its conservation programs.
The Copenhagen Zoo has kindly agreed to finance the installation and maintenance of a ParkView© console at the newly rebuilt Pilanesberg Centre.
Advertising revenue from the console will go towards the projects managed by the Pilanesberg Wildlife Trust.
Visitors to Pilanesberg can look forward to using ParkView© towards the end of June 2007.