APSS Groundbreaking Ceremony August 2014

August 21, 2014 by dyertrust

On the 19th of August a group of high level individuals passionate about conservation, gathered at the Birkenhead Lodge grounds at Gansbaai in the Western Cape, to launch a significant partnership aimed at providing a sanctuary for the endangered African Penguin and Seabirds.

The African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS) will be dedicated to the unconditional welfare of distressed seabirds in the Overstrand region, said Wilfred Chivell of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT), and words cannot express how grateful we are for the support of our donors which have made today possible.

The Dyer Island Conservation Trust is driving the establishment of the rehab centre supported by Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA), Wildlands, Grindrod Bank and the Blue Fund.

The Dyer Island Conservation Trust has expressed a desperate need for a rehab centre. Currently any birds found injured are sent to SANCCOB (Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) in Cape Town where they are rehabilitated and then released in the Cape Town area, said Chivell of DICT. SANCCOB does a fantastic job however, it is a fair distance away from Dyer Island and results in unnecessary stress for the birds as well as difficulty in finding their home colony due to the distance on release.

Land has already been purchased and DICT have received funding from VW for infrastructure. The next step is a laboratory, an education centre, equipment and specialised flooring.

Our funding of the APSS is the continuation of our long standing partnership and a commitment to continuously support the great work of DICT in conserving our Marine Big 5African penguins, great white shark, seals, dolphins and whales. The partnership with DICT forms part of our Think Blue initiatives which aim to support organisations that are involved in environment sustainability programmes, said David Powels, Managing Director: Volkswagen Group South Africa.

We are delighted to expand our sponsorship of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, now in its fourth year. One of the key strategic objectives of the Think Blue brand is to position Volkswagen as a company with meaning and impact through activities with various community and environmental partners and this partnership does just this. said Bridget Harpur, Brand Manager at VWSA.

Grindrod has its roots in the maritime industry and with this comes an intense understanding of the environmental issues that pose a threat to communities in general, said David Polkinghorne, MD of Grindrod Bank Limited. Grindrod Bank and Grindrod Financial Services have an active interest in transforming and enriching South Africa, and as such have created The Blue Fund which is proud to be associated with a project such as APSS, said Polkinghorne.

The Blue Fund is a strategic partnership between Grindrod Financial Services and Wildlands Conservation Trust and has been created with a focus on the sustainable development of coastal communities and conservation of coastal marine ecosystems.

Wildlands have always been driven by a vision to transform and uplift communities and the environment, said Wildlands CEO Dr Andrew Venter. When we were approached by Grindrod with the idea to develop The Blue Fund the synergy with the sustainability work we already implement across the country could not be ignored, and we decided the Blue Fund was a perfect fit for us.

 

The Blue Fund is also offering support to two projects driven by WESSA (the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa), namely, the Blue Flag Beach Drive on the KZN Coast and their Port St Johns Crafter Product Development and Support in the Eastern Cape.

For any further queries please contact Alouise Lynch, Operations Manager (Dyer Island Conservation Trust) Tel: +27 82 907 5607 Dr. Sylvia Earle, renowned oceanographer has led more than 100 expeditions with more than 7000 hours underwater exploring the deepest parts of the ocean. Lecturer and author of over 150 publications, she has previously served as chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Her involvement and commitment to ocean research and conservation has won her more than 100 awards and the position of National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. Her efforts to protect the blue heart of the planet won Earle a TED Prize in 2009 and with TED’s support; she launched Mission Blue, which aims to establish marine protected areas (dubbed “hope spots”) around the globe.

Mayor Nicolette Botha-Guthrie of theOverstrand Municipality (This Mission Blue initiative defines Hope Spots as special conservation areas that are critical to the health of the oceanEarths blue heart. Some of these Hope Spots are already formally protected, while others still need protection. Mission Blue is committed to changing this. Networks of Hope Spots maintain biodiversity, provide a carbon sink, generate life-giving oxygen, preserve critical habitat and allow low-impact activities like ecotourism to thrive. Through engaging governments, businesses, schools, research organizations, universities, civil society and the media, Mission Blue hopes to effect significant changes so that future generations can thrive on a healthy planet, with a healthy ocean.

Our 200km long Cape Whale Coast area from Rooi Els to Quoin Point is unique in its combination of rich and abundant biodiversity, spectacular scenery and cultural heritage.

In February 2014, a group of like minded people came together to listen to Dr. Tony Ribbink from the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) about the plans to proclaim 5 Hope Spots in South Africa. The choice of participation was left up to the initial Hope Spot Committee, and a sober decision was made to have to feasibility study done to ascertain if this was viable for our region.

Wilfred Chivell (Marine Dynamics Shark Tours Together with supporting organizations, such as the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, the Overstrand Municipality and Cape Nature championed this initiativefacilitated by the Sustainable Seas Trust and the official launch of this newly proclaimed conservation area took place on the 6th December 2014.

The main objective? The gaining of public support for marine conservation, the reawakening of our pride in the cultural marine heritage which our communities thrive on, and the continued promotion of the Overstrand as a tourism destination.

For more information on the Hope Spots, please contact Alouise Lynch of the Dyer Island Conservation Trustemail Monday the 8th of December, as Kleinbaai harbor is bustling with busy with holiday makers, our biologists and volunteerslaunched the DICT research boat Lwazi in order to retrieve and re-deploy the listening stations behind Dyer Island.

 

 

We had been waiting for a clear weather gap as the area where the stations are deployed behind Geyser rock is completely exposed Says Alison. Our skipper Jan du Toit took the boat straight to the weigh point of unit one, which popped up directly behind the hull of the boat within 10 minutes.

It can take hours for the stations to surface- sometimes even days. The team were very impressed at Jans ability to put them straight over the stations on numerous occasions and even got a surface after only 7 minutes waiting time!

 

The listening stations were recovered and redeployed within a couple of hours. The receivers have acoustic releases and do sometimes prematurely detach and wash ashore. Luckily most of the time they are returned by the local public. One unit from Algoa Bay was found drifting 40 nautical miles out to sea by a trawler and another unit which vanished from Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape washed ashore next door to us here at Pearly Beach! The ocean never ceases to amaze us especially how she can move objects from far and wide in such short time periods.