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 of African penguins.