MESSAGE FROM: University of Zululand by Fikile Mazibuko, Vice-Chancellor FikileMazibuko

Modern pressures and the ever-growing human population continue to pose challenges to wildlife conservation and habitat preservation.

As the University of Zululand we believe in working in tandem with various strategic stakeholders to mitigate human-wildlife conflict through research and other initiatives which ensure wildlife are protected and allowed to thrive.

It is through this unwavering commitment to wildlife conservation that our strong partnership with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife was born and continues to be cemented.

Our partnership with the conservation entity involves, among other things, the placement and training of students in its different tourism resorts, parks and game reserves in KwaZulu-Natal.

We acknowledge the critical role that this multidisciplinary organisation plays in preserving and protecting our animal species for future generations. We have confidence in the leadership of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife that they are shaping the organisation for better and taking it to greater heights. Both the natural and social sciences disciplines are essential and critical players on conservation. Scholarship, research and evidence – based interventions require intellectual discourse such as this conference

Over the years UNIZULU has offered a number of programmes to support wildlife conservation work within the region while also providing education for future conservationists and building capacity in the leaders of today and tomorrow.

The 2014 Symposium of Contemporary Conservation Practice to be held under the theme ‘Exploring the science, practice and value of conservation’ is a mutually enriching activity that for experts and the public.

The key themes and focus areas to be deliberated upon at 2014 Symposium of Contemporary Conservation Practice speak volumes about the seriousness of critical issues which affect the lives of both human and animal species in South Africa and globally.

These have the potential of being incorporated into school or University curriculum in order to instil a culture of environmental care in our youth and society generally.

We are confident that the 2014 Symposium of Contemporary Conservation Practice book will be a useful tool in educating our scientists, youth and the community at large on the significance of caring for the environment.

We look forward to another successful conference.

Professor Fikile NM Mazibuko
University of Zululand