The aims of the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa (NZG), as outlined in its Agenda 2015 strategic document are to:
- Be recognised as a 21st Century zoological gardens,
- Be a centre for research excellence in biodiversity and conservation medicine,
- Be a premier ecotourism facility,
- Be a platform for high quality, high impact science advancement, and
- Be a modern organisation that is capable, diverse, responsive, knowledge-based and embedded with core values.
The NZG shares the core values of the National Research Foundation (NRF), namely:
- Passion for Excellence
- Ethics and Integrity
The broad strategic context of the NZG is referred to as thematic drivers. These drivers will focus the way the organisation attracts, develops and retains talent. This will include making choices about its animal and biomaterials collections, developing and maintaining its physical infrastructure and animal facilities, developing and maintaining its educational programmes, conceptualising and implements its science and research component, how it relates and responds to the needs of its visitors, partners/ stakeholders, how the organisation sustains itself through intelligent and strategy-driven resource allocation; and finally, how it relates and responds to itself.
Vision of the NZG
Nature and Humanity in Balance
Inspired conservation of wildlife through knowledge, understanding and connection
The revised vision and mission statements reflect a commitment by the NZG to bridge the gap between nature and humanity through the provision of a platform on which humanity can gain knowledge about, cultivate a better understanding of and connection with nature in general, but wildlife in particular.
Research has become a cross-cutting component rather than a specific functional department. This will allow for improved opportunities for the establishment of a critical mass of researchers drawing from all scientific and professional disciplines within the NZG.
The National Zoological Gardens of SA was founded on the farm, Rust in Urbe, in 1899. The Zoo originated as a result of the then-director of the Staatsmuseum, Dr Jan Boudewyn Gunning being given a collection of birds and a few mammals destined to be stuffed and put on display in the Museum.
In order to start the Zoo, Dr Gunning encouraged residents living in the area adjacent to the Museum to complain about the noise and odour caused by the animals living in its backyard. Very soon he obtained permission to transfer a group of animals to "Rus in Urbe" on 21 October 1899 - this was the humble beginnings of what we know as the National Zoo. Dr Gunning served as the Director of the Transvaal Zoo from 1899 to 1914.
The Zoo started with 46 animals - two owls, three baboons, one monkey, two meerkat, one serval, a python, a puff-adder, two grey dormice, one gemsbok, a Cape polecat, one steenbok, an iguana, 27 finches, and a llama and kangaroo received from a passing circus.
The Zoo received national status in 1916 and became known as the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa.
For more information, visit www.nzg.ac.za