September 1st, 2013
It is with pride that I would like to announce the PhD project we are going to contribute to with the “Friends Funds” raised by the FKMP.
The project entitled “Translating theory into practice: Targeted tuberculosis control in meerkats of the Kalahari” will work to address one of the biggest problems in the KMP meerkat population: Tuberculosis (TB). The disease that has taken so many individuals, and brought a sad end to several of the strongest meerkat groups in the past twenty years, is still poorly understood. The project first aims to broaden our understanding about the disease and how it is transferred in meerkats. These findings will then guide a vaccination study whose ultimate goal is to enable the KMP to control TB in the meerkat population.
With Stuart Patterson, the KMP could win a researcher with a great set of skills to perform this study. Stuart graduated as a veterinary surgeon in 2007; he went into farm animal practise for five years to gain work experience before pursuing his MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology, learning about how to investigate disease and its control in populations. Stuart is affiliated with the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in London, and works in the group of Dr. Julian Drewe who was the first PhD student to investigate TB in the KMP meerkats.
The FKMP committed to contribute one third of the project cost, over three years; the RVC and the KMP cover the remaining cost. These FKMP Funds were raised over the last 5.5 years, with Friends membership fees, donations and merchandising revenue as the sources.
In this place I would like to thank each and every Friend and FKMP store customer for their support in the past years. I indeed take pride in this achievement we made happen together – many of us since the FKMP started in 2007. Furthermore, I am also glad that the funds we raised will now go to a cause that I personally consider equally important to both the KMP and the Friends. For those of you who wish to support this cause even more, there is the possibility to donate for this project specifically.
President of the Friends of the Kalahari Meerkat Project