What is SYMCO

The International Symposium on Wildlife Utilization in Southern Africa (ISWU) is an annual symposium dealing with veterinary involvement in wildlife management. It serves as a platform for a variety of leading speakers to address veterinary students on a host of wildlife management topics and the role of the veterinarian in wildlife utilization. Speakers are both local and international and are from all facets of the wildlife industry in Southern Africa.

ISWU is organised by the Symposium Committee (SYMCO), a non-profit student organisation affiliated to the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Veterinary Science at Onderstepoort. The first symposium was held in 1986, and was met with grand success. Over the years, the term SYMCO, initially used only in reference to the committee, has come to be synonymous with the term ISWU, referring to the symposium itself. SYMCO 2023 has already started preparations for the 20th ISWU that will take place in July of 2024, endeavouring to make it, once again, an unforgettable event.

The Republic of South Africa, known for its rich natural heritage and breath-taking wildlife, serves as the host country for this spectacular event. Starting in Pretoria the symposium sets off on an epic journey through many of the wildlife hot-spots of northern South Africa, including the famous Kruger National Park, and the beautiful natural estuaries of the northern coastline.

Delegates can expect an action-packed 18 days, filled with relevant informative lectures, and hands-on experience. This is a great opportunity to get up close and personal with South African wildlife, as well as network with veterinary professionals and students from around the world.

In the interest of providing the best possible symposium experience for all involved, the number of delegates that can be accommodated is unfortunately limited. Approximately 55 international and 15 local students will be chosen. Applications are open to all veterinary students worldwide.

SYMCO 2024 promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience: an opportunity to gain invaluable knowledge, form lasting friendships, and have loads of fun, while embarking on an unforgettable African adventure!

We look forward to receiving your application, and sharing our unique and wonderful wildlife with you.