DEEP AT THE REFOREST FEST

March 20, 2019 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

The 2019 intake of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust’s Environmental Education Programme (DEEP), joined Greenpop’s Treevolution Reforest Festival this weekend in Platbos. This was an Eco-friendly, Zero Waste event for families to rebuild this indigenous ancient forest. It was a weekend filled with fun activities, puppet shows, forest walks, talent show and music and a platform to educate people about the importance of trees. Over 500 people attended this camp and ±2000 trees were planted on Saturday. “The DEEP kids enjoyed themselves and loved the tents. This was their first time camping. They had the opportunity to mingle with other children from different schools and to experience vegetarian meals. Special thanks to Wilfred Chivell and the staff of Marine Dynamics for the support of this outing,” said Trust educator, Pinkey Ngewu.

 

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PENGUIN PICTURE HAS THE PERFECT HOME

March 19, 2019 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

In 2018, our penguin philanthropist, Mike Gibbs, kindly donated a special drawing of African penguins by Hermanus artist Malcolm Bowling. This picture went on silent auction at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS). It finally has a home - with the Kendziorski family. The Kendziorski’s are from the USA and have been volunteering their time at APSS while in South Africa. Alex, Rebecca and their son Liam, were very excited to take this picture home. They are previous donors to the sanctuary and the APSS team is grateful for their generous R8500 donation for this iconic image of rehabilitated penguins.

The Kendziorski’s had the following to say, “We are grateful that we can participate in one of the last chances to prevent the extinction of the African penguin. Working with the birds directly has also been a joy as well as inspiring. Seeing how our donations are put to use in person has given us great confidence in our continued support. We can all be part of the change needed to save the penguins. Reducing the use of plastics, shoreline clean-ups, and learning and sharing information about what actions you are doing to help prevent their extinction. We are better together.”

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Great White Sharks Tagged in Gansbaai

March 15, 2019 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

“We are thrilled to have acoustic tagged two Great White Sharks from our research boat today!”, said shark biologist Alison Towner. It’s been over two years since a transmitter (tag) has been deployed on a white shark in Southern African waters largely due to their unpredictable distribution patterns, and a notable decline in white sharks visiting two Western Cape aggregation sites.

 

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DEAD BRONZE WHALER SHARKS, GANSBAAI

March 07, 2019 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

On Tuesday the 5th March at 9 am, Anthony Fouche of Gansbaai documented the carcasses of eight large bronze whaler sharks at Die Plaat, Gansbaai. The Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) / Marine Dynamics team were notified in the late afternoon and made their way down to the site to collect them.

On arrival, the team found three of the eight dead sharks. It is assumed that the rest were taken away to be sold, as the bronze whaler is a commercially fished species. Even though bronze whalers are generally regarded as low value there is a market for both their meat and fins for export in South Africa. Of the three shark carcasses left on the beach, the DICT team were able to confirm that all were reproductively mature, measuring around 3 meters each. One was a heavily pregnant female with the tail of a pup expelled from her cloaca. The team removed the pup and decided to open the mother shark to attempt to save any other remaining pups. Another 13 full grown shark pups were found, likely just days away from birth, but unfortunately all the pups were deceased due to the extent of time the shark had been dead. Bronze whaler sharks do not reach maturity until approx. 20 years old and this information is important as it supports the fact that the Walker Bay waters, similar to False Bay, are being utilised as feeding areas for pregnant sharks and even possibly a nursery area for this IUCN near threatened species. Another pregnant female carcass washed up in Walker Bay on the morning of the 7th.

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International Marine Volunteer donates R50 000 to Conservation

February 19, 2019

Wilfred Chivell of Marine Dynamics and founder of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust was ecstatic to receive a R50 000 donation from International Marine Volunteer Susy Alexandersen. This money will go to the Dyer Island Conservation Trust’s conservation and community efforts.

Norwegian based Alexandersen had this to say, “In 2013 I went to Gansbaai for the very first time for shark cage diving as a client and I got to learn about Marine Dynamics and the International Marine Volunteer programme for the first time and about this amazing man Wilfred Chivell and what he does for conservation and marine life. I have always loved Great Whites and the mysteries of the ocean ever since I was a kid, so for my 30th Birthday in December I wanted to have a big donation party for the Conservation Trust and Marine Dynamics. And also talk about it and what important work they do. I’m now here for the fourth time and I will always return to my favourite place on earth and I am so happy I can help.”

If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer/intern programme visit the Marine Dynamics Academy website: https://marinedynamics.org/academy/

 

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World Wetlands Day

February 02, 2019 Pinkey Ngewu

World  Wetlands Day (WWD) on 2 February  is a key environmental day on the calendar.  This global movement was established in 1971 in order to raise awareness about the value of wetlands  for humanity and the planet. World Wetlands Day  was celebrated for the first time in 1997 and has grown remarkably since then. The Theme for 2019 is, "Wetlands and  Climate Change ". Wetlands  are impacted by changes in  temperature,  rainfall , sea level rise and extreme events. Wetlands play an important  role in our approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation,  through  capturing and storing carbon to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases and providing resilience to hazards such as flooding,  storm surge and  sea level rise . The Dyer Island Conservation Trust's Environmental Education Programme known as  DEEP waa joined by  Febe Van  Tonder of PlasLantic, a committed  supporter  of DEEP  for the past three years. Educator  Pinkey Ngewu presented a wetland model designed  by the Marine Dynamics Academy  interns and  explained how wetlands absorb carbon dioxide. 

As Pinkey  explained, "The good thing about  wetlands is that they can cleanse and filter water as it moves through , but too much  contamination can destroy these natural  filtering systems". The DEEP group  was encouraged  to adapt their  mindset that, "We are not  powerless against climate change ". 

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Marine Evening Ralph Watson

January 31, 2019 Pinkey Ngewu

 

Ralph Watson, Ph.D. Candidate at Rhodes University, and a marine biologist guide at Marine Dynamics was the speaker at the latest Marine Evening held by Marine Dynamics/Dyer Island Conservation Trust. Ralph was born in Johannesburg but raised in the Netherlands. From a young age, it was clear his interests lay in the natural world around him and studying biology was his destiny. Ralph studied genetics but quickly realized he wanted to be out in the field. He returned to South Africa and has spent the last seven years working in the marine biology field. He studied the shark diversity in False Bay and smaller shark species in Mossel Bay. During the Marine Evening he shared more on their characters and movements providing guests a deeper appreciation of these often overlooked sharks.

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MARCH FOR THE PENGUINS 2018

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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DEEP GRADUATION

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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WHITE SHARK RESEARCH PRIORITIES

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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