July is plastic awareness month, aiming at combating single use plastic items.
The Dyer Island Conservation Trust team embraced African Penguin Awareness Day with education, a penguin release and a fun concert by DICT’s environmental education group.
Pinkey Ngewu and Mervin Visagie visited the local Gansbaai primary schools where they enlightened students about the plight of this endangered species by sharing important and fun facts and teaching a special penguin dance. On Saturday, 14 October the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (a project of DICT) released four recovered penguins back into their natural home. The group was representative of all the sea-going ages. Once penguins have passed their fluffy chick stage, anything from 60 to 130 days from hatching, they become what is termed blues. This is when they have lost their fluffy feathers, are now waterproof and have a blue sheen on their feathers. Their stomach is white and they do not look much like an adult penguin with its distinctive black and white. In fact, before they will look like that they still have a rather ugly ‘teenager’ phase to go through with their drab brown feather colour and splotchy white headgear.
Some of the permanent volunteers of APSS helped with the release. The release was well attended by the public and it was obvious the children were enthralled.
After the release, the education group (DEEP) put on a show for the public at APSS where they highlighted the fact that there is overfishing which is having a negative effect on the penguins. They rounded off this serious message with a bit of fun and dance with many of the younger spectators joining in. The penguin whisperer, Xolani Lawo, was on hand to explain the dangers penguins face and there were even penguin biscuits.
DICT extends thanks to all those who participated as it takes a community to save a species.