Endangered Species Annual Awareness Campaign
May 12, 2011 by dyertrust
As per Waddling for a Week
23rd to 28th May 2011
From Gansbaai to Boulders
An Animal Keepers Association Africa (AKAA) – Endangered Species Annual Awareness Campaign
This Campaign will raise awareness of the plight of our very own African Penguin which is only found on the Southern African Coastline, and has recently been declared endangered. This Penguin will be extinct in fifteen years if together we dont do something. We humans caused the problem so lets fix it.
In keeping with the world wide call of What can Zoos and Aquaria do to promote global conservation awareness, the AKAA has initiated an annual awareness program which will focus on one Endangered Species per year.
To spread the Penguin Promises message and inspire relevant social behaviour change, a couple of AKAA members and possibly a SANCCOB representative, will be waddling 150kms down the East coast of South Africa from Dyer Island, Gaansbaai, to Boulders in Simonstown, Cape Town. The significance of this walk is that it starts and ends at two of the main breeding colonies for the African Penguin and takes in the area of coastline frequented by these birds for feeding. Join us on route. Check the websiteThe Dyer Island Conservation Trust is proud to be supporting the extension of theWorld-renowned shark parasitologist, Professor Susan Dippenaar of the University of Limpopo in Polokwane, spent two weeks withMore information can be found atThe Trust is very excited to announce that Volkswagen South Africa has recently decided to sponsor our work, first by the sponsorship of two vehicles and by an intensive marketing campaign encouraging the public to support our various research and conservation projects.
Volkswagens vision is to become a company with meaning and impact in terms of environmental consciousness, and an industry leader in environmental responsibility. We believe our partnership and support of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust will play a critical role in assisting them to conserve the rich marine life in the Gansbaai area, said Mike Glendinning, Director: Sales and Marketing at Volkswagen Group South Africa.
Our sponsorship forms part of our Think Blue initiative by which we try to implement small changes that will make big differences in the future. This is our small contribution to the ecological sustainability of our Marine Big 5. As Volkswagen, we hope our sponsorship will generate public awareness that will lead to more funding that can be used to support the work of the DICT, added Glendinning.
The two sponsored vehicles, a Touareg with BlueMotion Technology and a Polo BlueMotion will assist DICT with beach rescues, transporting researchers and volunteers, and the general running of the organisation.
Dyer Island is a 20 hectare nature reserve in Gansbaai and is managed by CapeNature. It is a rich breeding ground for birds, most significantly the endangered African penguin and, accordingly, is classified an important bird area by Birdlife International. Dyer Islands surrounding waters are home to great white sharks, seals, dolphins and whales completing the Marine Big 5.
Wilfred Chivell founded the Trust in 2006 when, together with CapeNature, they started a penguin housing project to address the issue of the lack of breeding habitat for this species. Past extensive guano scraping removed the African penguins natural breeding habitat and left them exposed to predators and other elements. Wilfred designed a unique penguin home, modelled on their natural burrows. His design has been lauded nationally and internationally and is now used extensively at other colonies.
Wilfred said: We continuously conduct studies on penguins, whales and dolphins, but at the moment we have a strong focus on the great white shark. We are studying their phenomenal healing abilities and also, through acoustic tagging and tracking as well as looking at environmental parameters, their inshore seasonal migrations. Our database of extensive fin identification studies is crucial in building population estimates.
Most importantly, the DICT together with its eco-tourism partner, Marine Dynamics, want to educate people about the great white shark to help them view the species as essential in the oceanic food chain.
The DICT is also the point of contact for animal rescue in the Gansbaai area and is involved with seabird and whale disentanglements.
The DICT is excited to be associated with Volkswagens Think Blue Initiative. We are confident that our partnership will give our projects exposure to national and international communities, adds Wilfred.
(An edited version of original press release by Volkswagen SA)