PAAZA Conference 2017 - Conservation Award

May 31, 2017 Brenda du Toit

The Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) was excited to receive the PAAZA Conservation Award dedicated to our founder, Wilfred Chivell. The Conservation Award is given to those individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to the conservation of African species diversity or ecosystems.

DICT is a conservation partner of PAAZA – the Pan-African Association of Zoos and Aquaria. PAAZA’s mission is to guide and accredit all African Zoos and Aquaria to become effective and credible centres of animal welfare, conservation, education and research.

Wilfred was commended for his commitment to marine conservation, in particular how business and conservation can work together.

As per the transcript read at the award ceremony

Wilfred Chivell, founder of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, is a committed marine conservationist.  With a simple rubber duck in 2000, he started a whale watching company called Dyer Island Cruises. This business grew and expanded to include shark cage diving in 2005. Marine Dynamics has grown into a very successful eco-tourism business. However, Wilfred did not just want to make money, he wanted to make a difference and out of this passion for conservation the Dyer Island Conservation Trust - committed to research, conservation and education - was formed in 2006.

Wilfred is passionate about the African penguin and its plight led to him creating the

‘Faces of Need’ nesting project. This project has grown over the last ten years and more than 2000 penguin homes, designed by Wilfred, have been installed on the protected Dyer Island. Wilfred initiated two penguin conferences and pushed for the penguin to be listed as endangered. In 2015 he opened the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary, a state of the art rehabilitation facility.

Wilfred is also passionate about whales and sharks, is part of the SA Whale Disentanglement network and has dedicated boats and a cradle for rescues. Wilfred is changing the way the shark cage diving industry is viewed. His business model creates employment and benefits the environment. Through Wilfred’s companies over R1million has been committed towards research and conservation. He has also supported three marine biologists to complete their higher degrees.

Wilfred’s ethos is based on conservation and protection of the environment and this ethos has infiltrated his whole life. The organisation’s headquarters - Great White House – runs recycling projects, supports the SASSI programme, encourages the reduction of waste, the reduction of chemical use, the inclusion of a solar geyser and low wattage light bulbs. The boats use low emission engines.

Wilfred proves that business and conservation can work together and he is an inspiration to us all. He is indeed a worthy recipient of the PAAZA Conservation Award.

The team of the DICT would like to congratulate Judy Mann of SAAMBR on her appointment as Chairman of PAAZA and wish the committee all the best for the year ahead.

Outgoing PAAZA chairman, Esther van der Westhuizen and Trudi Malan, African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary