October 03, 2018
The Dyer Island Conservation Trust has been a participant of the educational tent at the Hermanus Whale Festival since 2009.
This platform provides an opportunity to reach the 100 000 or more people that visit the annual festival. The team works hard to educate the public on the marine species of the area especially the Marine Big 5 – whales, sharks, penguins, dolphins and seals. The Hermanus Whale Festival is in its 27th year and the real stars of the show are the southern right whales that visit the sheltered bay to mate and calve providing some wonderful viewing opportunities from land. This year visitors were able to make an ocean pledge and surf the recycled plastic wave as DICT together with their corporate sponsor, Volkswagen SA, are ‘riding the wave together for a cleaner ocean’.
Alison Towner is the senior shark biologist at the Dyer Island Conservation Trust and gave a talk on how critical sharks are to the ecosystem. Special thanks to Shane Sauvage of LaPentola restaurant who closed his restaurant for the time of his talk and brought all his staff to listen. Xolani Lawo, senior bird rehabilitator at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary, a project of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, spoke on the plight of the African penguin and shared some rehabilitation moments. The Trust’s presence at the festival was sponsored by eco-tourism partner, Marine Dynamics / Dyer Island Cruises, who conduct shark cage diving and whale watching/eco tours around the Dyer Island ecosystem.
“We believe education is imperative if we are to help protect our marine ecosystem,” says Wilfred Chivell, CEO of Marine Dynamics. “The Hermanus Whale Festival helps us reach many people, and for some, this is the first time they are being introduced to the marine species we are privileged to work with. We congratulate the organisers on a fantastic festival this year, and well done to CapeNature on their campaign addressing trash. The boxes made a real difference to the cleanliness of the festival, and the whales were incredible this year. It was wonderful to see everyone fascinated by the whales and that is what this festival is truly about.”