National Zoological Gardens (Pretoria)

The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa (NZG) is currently developing species-specific genetic microsatellite markers for the Sungazer to contribute to population genetic information on the species, for example on genetic structure, individual identification and inbreeding within and between different populations within the distribution range.

The data will provide more information on the extent of gene flow between populations of Sungazer’s. NZG researchers would then be able to plot a genetic distribution map and best determine strategies to follow in breeding programmes, relocations, as well as the establishment of new populations.

Significantly, the data collected can also be applied to on-going poaching investigations, such as indicating the locality in which the animal was poached (based on GPS data). This can help focus policing of areas with high poaching incidences, regulating trade and helping to reduce poaching.