July 18, 2019 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

The Dyer Island Conservation Trust believes that every day is Mandela Day, but still, the team thought it a good idea to share some tea and cake with some special guests.  

The Trust’s key project, the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary, started making bags of newspaper a few years ago, but they needed an extra pair of hands. That was when Mariaan Burger, a local Gansbaai resident, stepped in offering her time and energy to the project. Mariaan was encouraged by Trust founder, Wilfred Chivell, to start a ‘production line’ so that the Great White House and any other interested businesses could buy and use these newspaper bags. Now every Tuesday a  group of dedicated residents from the Silwerjare service centre for older persons in Blompark, meet to enjoy some time together whilst producing bags of varying sizes. These bags are then purchased for use at the Great White House curio shop and have proved to be quite a hit with guests from all over the world. The extra income from the bags is used for the group outings. 

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July 17, 2019 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

Cresta Shopping Centre has brought the Dyer Island Conservation Trust on board to help drive education about marine conservation.

Our Trust Manager and educator, Pinky Ngewu, attended the opening event and had the opportunity to tell guests about the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, “We work in the protection of all marine species. Our founder’s main passion was taking care of the Dyer Island penguins in Gansbaai in the Western Cape. Our African penguins are facing extinction and are only left with seven years to survive in the wild. We are working on protecting this species so that future generations can enjoy them too.”

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July 14, 2019 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

Gansbaai is known world-wide as the White Shark capital of the world. But did you know that this coastline has a large diversity of other sharks as well. Around the world we know of over 500 different shark species, 117 of which can be found around the Southern African coast. Our sharks face many threats, mostly from fishing pressures, especially longliners where many are caught as bycatch.

We have a large number of species belonging to the Requiem and catshark families. Our interns from Marine Dynamics Academy joined hands with the children from Dyer Island Conservation Trust’s Environmental Education Programme (DEEP) in catching and measuring various catshark species from our local shores. The animals were tagged with an ORI (Oceanographic Research Institute) tag, after which they were safely released back into the ocean. These activities are a simple but vitally important method to get an impression of how many individuals of each species are swimming around, where these sharks move to, and how fast they grow over time. While this information will go into our research database, it gave the children from DEEP an unprecedented opportunity to interact with local wildlife they would normal never see, and so influence our younger generation to take more care about the wonderful and diverse marine life around our shores.

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July 08, 2019 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

Hotspots2C has for many years been a valuable tourism partner of Marine Dynamics. It is through this association that Hotspots2C began supporting the penguin nest project of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust. This nest project has been operation since the inception of the Trust in 2006. The nests or penguin homes are addressing the critical chick stage by providing protection from predators and the elements. Penguins would normally burrow into their layers of built up guano, but this was historically removed and used as fertilizer. In fact, it was called white gold and was fought over in the early 1900s. Guano scraping stopped in the 80s but not before the substrate, usually metres high, was removed from all the penguin breeding colonies. Then we had millions of penguins. Our current 16000 breeding pairs left will never be able to recreate this natural breeding habitat.

The DICT is represented on the African Penguin Habitat Working Group and there is a currently a modified nest being rolled out that will address some heat issues evaluated over the years. Hotspots2C has bought a nest every month and is now a Platinum donor having sponsored 50 nests. 

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July 05, 2019 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

Inspired by a project in Australia, Wilfred Chivell of Marine Dynamics Tours and founder of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, realised the need for a net system over the storm water drain outlets in Gansbaai. The first identified site was Gansbaai Harbour, an area notorious for plastic pollution and a prime spot to test the efficacy of the net and attachment design. The first net design was sponsored by Marine Dynamics and project leaders Hennie Otto (Marine Dynamics) and Benjamin Kondokter of the Overstrand Municipality placed the net on World Oceans Day 8 June. It was tested during a rainstorm but tore due to a design flaw in the oyster net used. Wilfred and Hennie then approached Ian Wessels of Wildegans Fishery who kindly donated the sardine purse seine net and stitching work required and this was placed on Plastic Bag Free Day 3 July. The nets are designed to prevent pollutants and solid waste, carried by storm water from the local road network, from flowing into the marine environment.

Wilfred had this to say about the project, “We noted the pollution from the storm water drain in the Gansbaai harbour, whilst on a clean-up. The outlet leads straight to nearby rock pools and into the ocean. The kelp that traps some of the waste makes it difficult to clean and this too is ultimately washed out to sea. We have been doing cleans up for twenty years and 80% of the waste is plastic. Dyer Island Conservation Trust is the first port of call for marine animal rescues and strandings in the Gansbaai area and we have witnessed first-hand the impact on our marine wildlife. We hope that through this project we can minimise this impact by reducing the amount of waste entering the marine system. Unfortunately, most of the waste will probably not be suitable for recycling, but we will do this where possible. This is a worldwide problem and our dream is to roll this out in the Overstrand and in South Africa.”

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