December 31, 2008 by dyertrust

On the 31st October 2008, Steve Kirkman (of Marine and Coastal Management) and Wilfred Chivell (founder of DICT) visited Geyser Rock to collect seal scat samples for an ongoing diet monitoring study. Collecting the scats found on the surface of the colony is preferable to shooting seals or immobilizing them and flushing their stomachs to obtain diet samples, methods which were used commonly on seals in the past. Sampling of scats is also much quicker and cheaper than the other approaches. Information on prey composition in the seal diet can be obtained from undigested prey remains which are often found in scats, such as fish otoliths, squid beaks, bird feathers and pieces of crustacean carapaces. Also, by taking measurements of otoliths and squid beaks, size estimates of individual prey can be obtained.

Seal diet, especially if monitored in the long term, can potentially provide a plethora of useful information for scientists and managers. Cape fur seals, as generalist feeders and top predators in the ecosystem, are expected to reflect the relative availability of different prey species in their diet. As such, their diet may provide an indicator of ecosystem changes over time, which may be caused by global climate change or over-fishing, which affect organisms lower down the food chain.

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December 31, 2008 by dyertrust

On the 19th of November 2008, the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) handed over the first donation of R10 000 from the Faces of Need Sharks project to Meaghen McCord of theSouth African Shark Conservancy (SASC)in Hermanus. This project forms the basis of a collaborative five year monitoring program aimed at raising awareness about the plight of commercially exploited elasmobranches through seminars and research activities. Marine Dynamics shark cage diving clients generously donate to the Faces of Need Sharks project and DICT aims to distribute these funds to the SASC on a regular basis, to support this valuable conservation initiative.


December 19, 2008 by dyertrust

The 25th Annual Conference of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria was hosted by Antwerp Zoo in Belgium from the 16 to 20 September 2008. The Dyer Island Conservation Trust was invited to address the Penguin group on the wild African Penguins. Wilfred Chivell and Lauren Waller attended the meeting on behalf of the trust and gave a presentation

on the status of African Penguins in the wild and the current threats they face, as well as latest African Penguin research and conservation projects. The talk also highlighted the role that the Dyer Island Conservation Trust is playing in these projects, and discussed the building of partnerships with European zoos and aquaria where their African penguins can act as ambassadors for their wild counterparts. The talk was very well received with the members showing keen interest (and dismay) at the declining African Penguin numbers and a willingness to support conservation and research where they could.

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December 18, 2008 by dyertrust

The week of 15-19 September, National Coastal Clean-up Week, was celebrated in style, with big yellow garbage bags and matching rubber gloves, by the Dyer Island Conservation Trust and Mr Dreyer's Grade 6 Class from Blompark Primary. The 34 students of the class were eager participants in performing a local beach clean up along the shores of Franskraal Beach stretching to the mouth of the Uilkraal River Estuary. This clean up was part of the 23rd annual International Coastal Clean-up sponsored by Ocean Conservancy and is advertised as the "World's Largest Volunteer Effort for the Ocean". This global effort is critical for creating awareness internationally, but most importantly locally, for the impact that marine litter can have on our environment and marine life.


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