Wilfred Chivell wins environmental award

August 27, 2012 by dyertrust

Wilfred Chivell Environmental AwardOwner of Marine Dynamics Shark Tours, Dyer Island Cruises Whale Watching and founder of Dyer island Conservation Trust, Wilfred Chivell, was rewarded for his conservation efforts this week when receiving the Overstrand Mayors Annual Environmental Conservation Award.

Wilfred is raising the bar in a competitive shark cage diving industry that could be used solely for commercial gain and at personal cost to Wilfred, both companies are leaders, using the time spent at sea to benefit the understanding of the marine environment and actively facilitating research.

read more

Magnificent humback whales

August 16, 2012 by dyertrust

southern right whaleThe humpback whales have been magnificent this July! By passing through the area as cargo trains they blew our minds in how precise and predicable they re-surface. It has been an absolutely pleasure to track them from the water tower!

Another great pleasure is that the southern right whales have been observed on each and every tracking trip from the end of July. So we can say for sure that they have returned to the area for the season.

read more

Dead shark dissection results

August 05, 2012 by dyertrust

great white sharkThe Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) retrieved a dead white shark from the shore of Dyer Island on 19 June 2012. The shark had no external signs of stress or markings that could suggest any cause of death. It was then transported to Cape Town by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) for a later dissection.

On 2 August 2012, the DEA and DICT met in Cape Town to conduct an autopsy on the deceased shark. The male measured 3.8 meters in length and weighed 507kg with a protruding abdominal cavity. Upon dissection, six Cape fur seals were removed from the stomach as well as three Cape fur seal skulls. Three of the six seals were 2-5 year old juveniles while the other three were young of the year pups. The six seals were at the same stage of digestion, suggesting they had been eaten within the same amount of time.

read more

Susan Dippenaar visits us

August 01, 2012 by dyertrust

susan dippenaar visitIn July, Professor Susan Dippenaar, a parasite expert from the University of Limpopo, paid Dyer Island Conservation Trust another visit here in Kleinbaai. She is a world-leading expert on a group of copepod syphonostomatoids for which elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) act as hosts.

A lab was set-up on site for Prof Dippenaar and her two Masters students and they quickly got to work dissecting specimens of small, endemic sharks, the puffadder shy shark and pyjama catshark as well as soup fin and cow sharks. These sharks are still commercially harvested in the area so it is important for us to learn as much as possible from each animal. The whole body of each shark is scrutinized paying particular attention to gills and noses which were removed and then we watched their painstaking work as they searched for parasites, literally with a fine-toothed comb. The interns and volunteers also had the chance to dissect the rest of the sharks bodies and discovered that two individuals were carrying mature eggs, better known as mermaids purses. These are now in an aquarium, still healthy and in the process of development.

read more

Dissection on smaller shark species

August 01, 2012 by dyertrust

marine volunteersDue to the fact that the weather has had a mind of its own over the past few days, we at DICT have taken it upon ourselves to provide our volunteers not only with interesting facts about sharks and other marine organisms, but also with an in-depth insight into how they function!

Here at the DICT headquarters we witnessed a dissection take place on some of our smaller shark species, not the Great White! We dissected two different shark species; a striped catshark also known as a pyjama shark and a puffadder shyshark. It was truly a phenomenal experience for both staff and volunteers alike. For some it was the first time being part of a dissection and therefore a few green faces were present amongst us. The volunteers however did not leave it to the experts; they were very hands-on and inquisitive! What made this shark dissection even more special was the fact that both female sharks were baring eggs. Our volunteers definitely gained more insight into the inner workings of sharks and the more you understand something the less room for fear remains!

read more