African Penguins - a Spring Fever event

May 20, 2014 by dyertrust

A young girl with a big heart fell in love with African Penguins in South Africa, and her dedication to contribute to the conservation of this endangered species is admirable.

In October 2013, Cate Atkinson, a ten year old young lady from Port Soderick on the Isle of Man, visited Dyer Island Cruises with her parents to go on one of our Eco Trips.

Little did she know that it will not be the big ocean wandering whales that will linger with her after her trip but rather the small endangered African Penguin, a bird that is tethered on the edge of extinction?

Our Whale or eco trips ventures into the world famous Shark Alley, between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock and it is here, and around the island, where we expose people to the enigmatic African Penguin and it was here that Cate got a glimpse into their threatened world.

African Penguins have suffered a decline of up to 94% over the past 100 years. A dire situation for a bird that stands a mere foot or two high

The DICT began the Faces of Need Penguin Project in 2006 to address this decline one of the major factors contributing to their demise is the destruction of their natural breeding habitat through historic guano scraping. Leaving these environmentally susceptible spesies with no possibility for the excavation of burrows, which is where they traditionally bred.

Now they face breeding on bare soils, and environmental conditions open to predation from Gulls and other scavengers, and lashed by an ever changing climate in a world of extreme weather conditions from facing extreme heat exhaustion to gut wrenching cold spells and flooding on low lying islands.

Our artificial homes address the threats of breeding habitat destruction as well as the predation and environmental influences these little tuxedod birds face.Homes are manufactured from hardy material, and deployed in 11 of the 26 colonies remaining across their distributional range along the coast of South Africa.

Cate heard and took to heart the plight of the African Penguin, and in February 2014 she initiated a magical fundraising event at The Buchan School in Castletown in the Isle of Man, where she is a pupil. She presented her case in favor of the African Penguin to the schools Head Miss Jane Corlett and asked if she might hold a fund raising day.

Cates school very kindly agreed that all money raised from its annual Spring Fever event on the 28th March 2014 would go to the DICT to support the work that DICT is doing to conserve this species.

The Spring Fever event was a musical day organized by the schools Head of Music Miss Sue Mills. All of the children in the school performed in either individual or group musical pieces throughout the day. Parents, grandparents and friends came into school to watch and support.

To raise money for the DICT Cate and her parents sold breakfast bacon butties and a wide range of penguin toys and stationery. They also held an auction for the children of a family of large ceramic wobbly penguins. At the end of the day a splendid penguin cake was raffled at the school. In addition the school agreed that the day could be dress down in Spring colours and each child paid a voluntary 1.00 to do this.

Great fun was had by one and all and this marvelous little lady Cate raised a total of 1,087.

This money will now provide 52 African Penguin families with a home a safe environment to raise the future of this species.

With people like Cate, and her parents Mike and Ann the conservation of the only Penguin species endemic to Southern Africa, is possible and above all, the conservation of this species does not only rest with the deployment of as many nests as possible in their breeding colonies it also rests with spreading the word far and wide to spur on people from all walks of life to take notice about our globally dwindling animal kingdom to get involved, and to ensure that their choice makes a difference.