Thanks to a grant from the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) that allows us to deploy a specialised seabird ranger on Dyer Island, the African penguins and other seabirds on Dyer Island now have an extra pair of eyes to watch over them. DCF grant recipients are selected based on their efforts to implement comprehensive community wildlife conservation programs, stabilise, and increase populations of at-risk animals and engage communities in conservation in critical ecosystems around the world. Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) and the Dyer Island Conservation Trust are working together to protect the magic of nature for future generations to enjoy.
Eduard Drost was appointed as the Dyer Island Specialised seabird ranger in December 2021. Eduard is no newcomer to seabird island living, he spent two years as the seabird ranger on Bird Island in Algoa Bay, where he worked as part of the SANCCOB/SANParks team. He has a M.Sc in Biological Oceanography from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. He started his academic career at the University of Johannesburg with a degree in B.Sc. Zoology & Environmental Management, followed by his B.Sc. Honours, Environmental Science. Eduard is a fully trained penguin rehabilitator, this means that he can administer emergency care, and continue with the rehabilitation process until such time that a “penguin ambulance” can be dispatch to take the patient to the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary.He is an avid photographer and whilst on Bird Island he often made birders countrywide jealous with the sighting of rare birds. We hope that he will continue to provide us with some twitcher excitement.
The deployment of a specialised seabird ranger will not only contribute to increased surveillance and monitoring but the biggest advantage is in the quicker reaction times to treat injured or compromised African penguins. “We know that the early rescue and treatment of compromised adult African penguins increase rehabilitation outcomes. With an island colony there are often times that bad weather and sea conditions prevent the rapid evacuation of a compromised bird, a trained specialist can provide continued care until sea conditions improve”, said Trudi Malan, the DICT Conservation Manager.
The seabird ranger project is part of the conservation partnership between the Dyer Island Conservation Trust and CapeNature, the management authority for Dyer Island. The addition of a ranger with specialised seabird knowledge will strengthen the CapeNature ranger team already on the island. The best way to protect and preserve the feathery inhabitants of Dyer Island is to base conservation plans and actions on a foundation of sound information. Increased monitoring provides us with the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the status of the various birds that are breeding on Dyer Island, the threats they face and the issues affecting them. A seabird ranger will allow us to increase knowledge and understanding both within the scientific community and to engage communities in conservation.
Together with the Disney Conservation Fund, and CapeNature the Dyer Island Conservation Trust are committed to saving our seabirds, with a specific focus on the endangered African penguin.
The African penguins also welcomed Seabird Ranger, Mickey on Dyer Island, he will be working back to back with Eduard.