January 07, 2019

Black and white dress was the order of the day at the second March for the Penguins held at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS) in Gansbaai. This family friendly event held on the 21st December attracted over 180 participants.

The event held two objectives – critical fundraising and awareness of the African Penguin and its endangered status. Trudi Malan, Conservation Manager of APSS, reminded everyone that the race we must win is that of beating 2026, the estimated year the African penguin could go extinct in the wild. The African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS) is a project of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust and strives to turn around their possible extinction by returning penguins they have saved from injuries, disease or pollution, back to their natural habitat where they can continue to breed.

Although an untimed run, Louw Burger once again came in first in 20min15secs. Colourful kites, that included Nemo and a flying octopus, brightened the sky. Participants could have a caricature done by artist Marthinus van Tee. Health and Active spinathon attracted dedicated spinners and a few people who managed a short spin for the penguins.

The community supported the event in various ways and thanks are due to many. Special thanks are extended to all participants, and volunteers who gave of their time to make the morning a success. Thanks to the traffic department that helped keep everyone safe on the road sections. Special thanks to: Marine Dynamics; Dyer Island Cruises; CapeNature; Sterling Private Wealth; LaPentola Restaurant; Health & Active Gansbaai; Kia Hermanus; Great White House; Grootbos Private Nature Reserve; Xplorio; Gansbaai Spar; Gerhard van der Merwe; Catherine Wright; Kia Hermanus; Gansbaai Tourism; Fat Bike Tours; Stanford Hills; Tasting Room; Panthera Africa; Cape Cup; Gansbaai Coffee Company; Lomond Wine Estate; Ronnie Crafford; Crazylicious Cookies; Hair Tizelle; Coffee on the Rocks; Jukani / Birds of Eden / Monkeyland

The APSS is open daily from 9am to 4pm with a 3pm feeding time. Coffee and curio shop onsite and entrance is free, although donations are welcome.

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December 18, 2018

The Dyer Island Conservation Trust’s Environmental Education Programme known as DEEP works with dedicated groups of young learners and runs for three years to monitor and evaluate the impact and growth of each and every individual learner. Our aim is to expose these young learners to the field of science and conservation and serve as a forerunner for future skills training. It is with a mixture of sadness and pride that we say goodbye to the first group to have completed their three years. Educator Pinkey Ngewu gave each learner a certificate and celebrated with the groups in their second and first year.

The students learn about the marine world, participate in beach cleanups, go out to sea with partners Dyer Island Cruises and Marine Dynamics and go on special excursions relevant to the programme, including a yearend camp. The students learn to present to an audience, understand the Marine Big 5 and some of the other animals in the area, learn about our crucial wetlands and issues related to marine pollution. They are exposed to any special conservation moments that the staff of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust experience.

“We hope we have given them a strong platform and wish them all the best for their future academic performance. We will be watching their development over the next few years and hope that some, if not all, will follow a career path in conservation,” says Pinkey.

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December 18, 2018

White shark experts from across the globe came together to map out the priorities for future research on the species. Our shark biologist, Alison Towner, contributed to this critical paper, as did her PhD supervisor Dr Malcom Smale, and past students affiliated with the Dyer Island Conservation Trust.

“White sharks, Carcharodon carcharias, are often described as elusive, with little information available due to the logistical difficulties of studying large marine predators that make long-distance migrations across ocean basins. Increased understanding of aggregation patterns, combined with recent advances in technology have, however, facilitated a new breadth of studies revealing fresh insights into the biology and ecology of white sharks. Although we may no longer be able to refer to the white shark as a little-known, elusive species, there remain numerous key questions that warrant investigation and research focus. The themes developed here provide a global road map for white shark research that will enable further comparisons among aggregation sites and a broader understanding of white shark ecology.”

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A Penguin Philanthropist

November 28, 2018

What does a real African penguin patron do for Christmas? He commissions an artist to do a painting of his beloved penguins, he uses it on his personal Christmas cards and he then donates the original painting along with a number of the Christmas cards to the African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary to raise some much needed funds. Mike Gibbs, one of our most ardent supporters and a previous trustee of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, is a true penguin philanthropist.

A man as passionate as Mike about the protection of not only the African penguin but the greater environment had to find an artist that understood this mindset.  Artist Malcolm Bowling shares Mike’s passion for the environment and has a special fondness for birds. According to Malcolm, he is not a fanatical “twitcher” but the attentive stillness required to capture the essence of a bird is for him akin to mindfulness – one of the buzzwords of our time. “I think the world would be a better place if more people would take more time to observe, to listen to experience. There is a dichotomy of peace and revitalisation when one is enjoying Nature. It has driven my soul and, therefore, my art and photography” says Malcolm.

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November 18, 2018

In its third year, the Marine Month competition run by the Dyer Island Conservation Trust with eco-tourism partners Marine Dynamics & Dyer Island Cruises, and with the support of conservation partners, the Overstrand Municipality and Birdlife Overberg, reached 16 schools in the Overberg area. This campaign, held every October, aims to raise awareness of the importance of our oceans.

The competition is aimed at all ages with various categories:
Category 1-COLOURING (Grades 1-3)
Category 2-POETRY (Grades 4-7)
Category 3-ESSAY (Grades 8 - 11)

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November 14, 2018

The Dyer Island Conservation Trust is extremely grateful to Fujifilm for sponsoring a brand new camera! The X-T100 was received by Alison Towner and Wilfred Chivell of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust on Tuesday the 6th of November in Tygerberg, Cape Town. Fujifilm expert Hein Hough handed the camera over, complete with 15-45 mm and 50-230 mm lenses.

Attractive features about this camera are its ability to pair via bluetooth with a smartphone allowing instant viewing of photos. Its compact lightweight design makes it perfect for going out into nature, and the photo quality is excellent. The X-T100 also has a unique LCD design that allows it to both tilt and flip out to the side but not rotate.

“Funding for scientific resources is very thin in South Africa so we are extremely grateful for this sponsorship and look forward to using the X-T100, especially at sea for capturing identification photos of our marine life”, says Alison Towner

Thanks are extended to Gillie Hine from FujiFilm South Africa for arranging this sponsorship.

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November 08, 2018

Duncan Butchart is a naturalist, illustrator and photographer. He is the author and editor of numerous articles and books on wildlife, including Wildlife of South Africa (Struik Nature). Duncan has travelled the globe drawing inspiration from nature. Duncan is a specialist in ecotourism communication and created the beautiful seabird pamphlet for pelagic birding cruises with the Trust’s eco-tourism partners Marine Dynamics / Dyer Island Cruises.

As a dear friend of the Trust, he completed this arty image of Trust founder and Marine Dynamics CEO Wilfred Chivell and the marine animals he loves so dearly. Wilfred started the term, the Marine Big 5 depicting the whales, dolphins, sharks, seals and penguins of the Dyer Island ecosystem. Using the medium of digital painting, Duncan captured all this perfectly well and included seabirds of course. Wilfred was grateful and surprised with this personal image. Duncan sent the following message: “It’s a present for you Wilfred - in admiration of everything you do for marine conservation.”

You can see more of Duncan’s work on his site: Never A Gull Moment

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November 06, 2018

Judith Scott presented a Marine Evening on her lifelong passion for whales, travel and photography. This whale enthusiast has been working for Dyer Island Cruises for the past three whale seasons as a guide on the Marine Big 5 tours. She first started working with whales eighteen years ago after falling in love with them at the age of seven.

Judith has worked on whale watching boats in many places and presented us with information on the various species that can be seen in different parts of the world. She also told us about her work on The Voyage of the Odyssey, a five year global voyage that sailed around the world studying pollution levels building up in sperm whales. Judith has developed a passion for photography through her work and showed us many of her images captured while whale watching off every continent. To view more of her images captured on Marine Big 5 tours, visit Dyer Island Cruises’ DAILY BLOG. These blogs capture the best sightings in the Dyer Island ecosystem throughout the year.

She currently works here in South Africa until December before travelling to Iceland and Mexico to continue working with a variety of species of whales and dolphins. Judith’s passion for whales is absolutely contagious and she is a stellar marine wildlife ambassador.

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October 10, 2018

The Dyer Island Conservation Trust Environmental Education Programme, known as DEEP, works with dedicated learners from Masakhane Primary school. The programme started in 2016 and runs for three years, with a new intake of 12 students each year. The long-term approach enables effective monitoring and evaluation of their progress and the impact that environmental education can have on young kids.

At the end of each year, learners go on an educational camp. This year learners from the second and third year attended an educational camp at Wortelgat in Stanford, where they spent the weekend learning about respect, teamwork and trust. The weekend included a fun-filled day of activities on Saturday - Viking games, nature walks, environmental quizzes, a trust walk, volleyball, stumbling blocks, spider webs and water activities. The learners had water activities on the Stanford river where a fun Mr & Mrs Wortelgat was selected.

Educator Pineky Ngewu said of the camp, “My three-year journey with the DEEP Blue ambassadors has taught me that we should focus on the personal development of our younger generation. These young people are our future leaders, decision makers and legislators, and they can have a profound impact on their community. Watching them grow in self-confidence and improved language skills is very rewarding. This camp was a lifetime experience for them.”

We would like to thank our sponsors of the camp - Mike Gibbs, Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises.

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October 08, 2018

This fishing line entangled African penguin was spotted by the skipper of Dreamcatcher, the Dyer Island Cruises boat, just off Kleinbaai on the 17th September 2018. The penguin was heavily entangled with line tightly wound through the beak, around the neck, flippers and feet preventing the bird from swimming or diving. The penguin was exhausted and drowning was imminent.

The team from Dyer Island Conservation Trust immediately launched Happy Feet, a smaller rubber duck that allows them to operate in shallow water. The penguin was rescued and rushed to the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary. The APSS team together with Dr Marc Walton commenced with "plastic surgery" immediately.

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