Zoologists and their contribution to the environment

Posted on 9 Jul 2021

Zoologists are scientists who study the interactions between animals and other wildlife within their ecosystems. Their studies are based on behaviours and physical characteristics of such animals, as well as the impacts humans have on wildlife and natural habitats. Humans are constantly invading natural habitats for their own benefit which is usually at the expense of some fauna and flora species. The knowledge of animal behaviour, physical characteristics and reactions to human interference equips zoologists in their goal to protect faunal species.


With increasing human population numbers, a greater demand for practices such as mining and agriculture exists. With such practices, risks of habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity are usually associated. It is therefore essential that faunal studies be conducted to ensure that minimal habitat is destroyed and that the biodiversity within the area is preserved.


Before mining and agricultural activities commence, surveys should be done to identify all ecosystems within the designated area and the various species these ecosystems hold. By doing so, any species considered to be endangered can be recognized and measures on how to preserve these species can be applied. This way, certain areas can be marked off as sensitive zones which should not be disturbed during operational activities. The Golden mole is an example of an endangered species where if present on a designated site, operations may not commence.


During mining and agricultural activities, continuous surveys should be conducted to ensure that the measures in place are being adhered to. Pollutants during mining and chemicals used during agricultural operations such as pesticides have negative effects on the surrounding environment and therefore it is important to monitor any possible impacts regularly. Any spill of pollutants in such areas such as pollutants running into natural water sources will be identified by the zoologist/specialist and will be reported so that the issue can be resolved before significant damage to the environment occurs.


One would think that once mining and agricultural activities come to an end, so too do the environmental threats it possessed, however evidence has shown that if such areas are not rehabilitated to their natural state, that the rest of the land may be affected in a disastrous manner. Land will be lost and as a result, potential habitat for fauna too. It is therefore crucial that regular studies and monitoring be done even after mining and agricultural operations to ensure the area is as close to its most natural state and that any remaining evidence of such operations will not affect biodiversity in future.


Through zoological studies, zoologists are able to determine any possible impacts on faunal species beforehand so that their well-being, as well as the condition of their natural environment, be considered at all times. As South Africans, we should all be aware of how important it is for us as a country to preserve all animals and wildlife our country holds. Zoologists aim to ensure that the generations to come may also witness the fauna we are privileged to witness today.


Environmental Assurance (Pty) Ltd. (“ENVASS”) has a wealth of environmental knowledge and would be happy to assist with any queries or works that may be required of your company. Please feel free to contact us on 012 460 9768 or email info@envass.co.za.