As lockdown restrictions are slowly being eased, activities such as hiking, mountain biking and self-drive safaris have been given the green light.
Gansbaai has always been known as the Big 2 Town, but is now also becoming known as the home of the Marine Big 5. This motley crew of marine animals include the Great White Shark, Southern Right Whale, Cape Fur Seal, Indo-Pacific Dolphin and of course, the African Penguin. Unfortunately not many realize that the dapper African Penguin is in fact endangered.
Dyer Island near Kleinbaai is home to one of the few colonies of African Penguins scattered along the coasts of South Africa and Namibia and consists of just over 1000 breeding pairs. Thanks to the efforts of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust and Cape Nature the island has been declared a conservation area and the penguins along with all the other pelagic birds found on the island now have a safe haven.
Unfortunately, continued pollution still threatens our waddling friends and their seabird friends along the coast. This is where the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary comes in. The APSS program will provide medical care and protection to hurt and endangered seabirds found along the Gansbaai coast. Seabirds found hurt or entangled can now be taken to the sanctuary, treated, nursed back to health and released back into the wild. The sanctuary will be built close to the Marine Volunteer Lodge in Kleinbaai and is expected to open early 2015.
This great initiative spearheaded by Operations Manager Alouise Lynch (DICT) is backed by various environmentally conscious establishments including Wildlands Conservation Trust, Grindrod Bank and The Blue Fund and Volkswagen. Other companies / sponsors involved include BreatheCoat Paints, GSA Glass, JoJo Tanks and Youngman Roofing together with Romansbaai Eco Estate.
We salute all companies involved for your great efforts and support of the protection and conservation of our most treasured animals. We stand by the words of Wilfred Chivell, founder of Marine Dynamics and the Dyer Island Conservation Trust:
“Every little bird, every little penguin counts.”
Images courtesy of APSS and Candice Lombard