ROGUE HELICOPTER CAUSES HAVOC TO MARINE LIFE AT MERCURY ISLAND
April 29, 2010 by dyertrust
A blue, foreign-registered helicopter bearing the identification 5YBXE attempted to land on Mercury Island last Thursday (22 April 2010) along the southern coast of Namibia, and in the process destroyed hundreds of nests of our most endangered seabirds.
Following this manoeuvre, the helicopter landed on the beach across the bay in the Namib-Naukluft National Park near the Otavi wreck and disturbed the seal colony there.
Mercury Island is the jewel of the newly proclaimed Namibian Islands Marine Protected Area (NIMPA) and is the most important breeding site for many endangered species. This tiny island (3 hectares of steep rock) is an internationally recognized Important Bird Area (IBA) and is home to tens of thousands of seabirds.
Nearly three quarters of the world population of the rare and endangered Bank Cormorant breeds on Mercury Island at this time of the year and more than 300 nests of this species were destroyed in a matter of seconds, with eggs and young chicks hurled into the sea by the powerful draught of the helicopter rotor.
Mercury Island also supports the largest Namibian colony ofAnother fishing line bin has been placed in the Pearly Beach area at Jan-se- Klip. Elrina Versfeld of the Pearly Beach Conservancy (PBC) approachedus after they saw the successful implementation of the bins around Gansbaai.
Benjamin Kondokter of the Overstrand Municipality Gansbaai Administration together with Brenda Walters of DICT met Gerald Henrici, treasurer of PBC, and together they placed the bin in a strategic spot. Benjamin took GPS position readings. The municipality is responsible for the emptying of the bins and Benjamin is weighing the contents on a monthly basis, to measure the impact.
While out there, we stumbled across the tiny eggs of the White-fronted Plover, so well hidden and reminding one of the need to be sensitive to the birds currently breeding on our beaches over this festive season, especially the African Black Oystercatcher, says Brenda. The Municipality and Pearly Beach Conservancy have both placed signs indicating the breeding areas of the Oystercatcher and remind visitors to the area to be careful not to disturb the birds.
DICT has implemented a fundraising initiative to cover future costs of these specialized bins so if you wish to support efforts toward preventing marine pollution, please