Avian Influenza and African Penguin Update...
Based in Gansbaai, the APSS is a critical seabird rehabilitation facility with a special focus on the endangered African penguin. APSS is a project of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust that has since 2006 been active in penguin conservation measures including a penguin nest project that replaces their natural burrows of guano. A history of guano removal for agricultural fertiliser has left the penguins exposed to the elements and predators and the nest or penguin ‘homes’ are critical to their breeding success.
This family friendly event held on the 21st December attracted just over a hundred participants. Although an untimed run, the first four men and women were recognised as was the first dog, Layla. Louw Burger was the first man to arrive with a time of 20min15. The next three were all juniors: 2nd Daniel Erasmus, 3rd Hanro Coetzee, 4th DeWet Nel. First lady, also a junior, was Suzaan van Vuuren, 2nd Jansie Smith, 3rd Talitha van Vuuren, 4th Nina Martin. Prizes included eco trips with Dyer Island Cruises and meals at the Great White House and some penguin scarves for the children. The event was kindly covered by Worcester radio bring a festive spirit to the morning.
The event held two objectives – critical fundraising and awareness of the African Penguin and its endangered status. Brenda du Toit, Public Relations, highlighted the fact that the penguins belong to all the community and that we can all play a part. As South Africa’s endemic species, the APSS strives to turn around their possible extinction by returning penguins they have saved from injuries, disease or pollution, back to their natural habitat where they can continue to breed. “As the first event, we did this on a small scale but we will make it an annual event on the calendar, and grow accordingly,” said Du Toit. “CEO of the Dyer island Conservation Trust, Wilfred Chivell, was there to participate. This event was a long held dream for him to have as was the penguin sanctuary.”
Special thanks are extended to all participants and volunteers who gave of their time to make the morning a success. Special thanks to sponsors: Marine Dynamics; Dyer Island Cruises; Great White House; Worcester Radio; Gerhard van der Merwe who arranged financial contributions from Sterling Private Wealth, Kia Hermanus, Boxman and Hermanus Dental Practice and Gansbaai Tourism for loaning us some tables.
The APSS is open daily from 9am to 4pm with a 3pm feeding time. Coffee and curio shop onsite and entrance is free although donations are welcome.