Tag Archives: Conservation

Preserving Penguins and preventing seasickness…

Those of you who’ve read about My Books, will know that our endangered African Penguins are close to my heart. This stems from childhood, when my late father sailed on our national research ships to the Southern islands and Antarctica, sometimes returning with penguins and seals. Despite the passing decades, I’ll never forget them, nor the pungent cocktail of diesel and oil mixed with the sea, so characteristic of the Cape Town docks. The docks of the old days, before the development of the vibrant V&A Waterfront.

So it’s wonderful to learn of support for the world’s penguins. My fabulous Facebook friend, Dyan deNapoli (The Penguin Lady) is in the process of launching her book The Great Penguin Rescue. Documenting a devastating oil spill that threatened 40,000 African Penguins, it will no doubt be a PHENOMENAL read, so take a look! For anyone unfamiliar with these birds, here are some pics of the Boulders Beach colony in Simonstown:


AFRICAN PENGUINS – Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa


AFRICAN PENGUINS – Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa


AFRICAN PENGUIN – Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa


AFRICAN PENGUIN – Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa

Dyan also recently drew our attention to a stunning new website of the Global Penguin Society, which ‘is dedicated to the survival and protection of the world´s penguin species, fostering integrated ocean conservation through science, management and community education.’ High five to them for all for their amazing effort!

As an aside about sea travel, Dyan offers invaluable advice for preventing seasickness: ReliefBands. She apparently felt no discomfort during five days of crossing the Drake Passage (to Antarctica and back) on a stabilizer-free ship, while others on board were beyond green. The bands ‘have a metal plate that sits against your wrist and provides an electrical pulse that stimulates a nerve, reducing peristaltic activity in your stomach’.

This recommendation came in response to a query on my Mom’s behalf, as she plans to visit ‘The Ice’ next year, shortly after turning seventy. Hard core women, or what? I can’t take the thought of those hectic seas, preferring to stick much closer to coast-lines, but these bands are a definite for future dive trips! I’ll task my Mom with photography 🙂

And how’s this for a cool side benefit? A user testimonial for ReliefBands mentions going on Adventureland rides that kids adore, with ‘NO ill effects whatsoever’! WOW, if that’s possible, perhaps there’s hope for me to read in cars. Now that would be AWESOME 😀 Continue reading

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‘A Feathership of Partners’ for Birdlife SA

While on the subject of conservation, we have some special photo’s to share. I posted these last September, but the sequence is so exceptional that it bears repeating, particularly since WordPress have introduced their great Gallery feature! Over the years, … Continue reading

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Peter Sarstedt Sings for Conservation in South Africa

Isn’t it stunning to come across a celebrity with a big heart? No wonder the words ‘Where do you go to, my lovely’, sung from that heart, touched so many. The Number 1 hit single of Feb 1969, which topped the British charts for 6 weeks, and reached # 1 in 14 more countries, is as familiar today – over 40 years later! This composition earned Peter Sarstedt the coveted Ivor Novello Award for Best Song 1969/1970. No surprise really that it’s also the theme song for a recent movie by Wes Anderson, ‘The Darjeeling Limited‘.

Some offerings of the soul are simply timeless, like this musician’s attitude to conservation. His ‘Green Alphabet’ song explores urgent environmental issues. Another, ‘Hemmingway’, expresses passion for Africa, while deploring the ease with which nature’s beauty can be lost. Peter Sarstedt’s signature works are born of an era when folk singing raised awareness and protested injustice, captivating the world and initiating change.

Not for the first time, his reach is extending here to South Africa, where he’ll be singing this month. His ‘green music’ does more than entertain. It promotes sustainable improvement of our planet. He will be performing ‘Save the Rhino’ to assist with the plight of these threatened creatures. In conjunction with Sappi Ltd., dedicated environmental supporter, his visit will benefit additional causes, such as The Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre, Birdlife SA and The Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens, among a number of others.

To give you an idea of these Gardens, here’s a pic of their spectacular waterfall:


WATERFALL – Botanical Gardens, Roodekrans, Johannesburg

And two of the majestic residents that nest near the top:


BLACK EAGLE ON NEST – Botanical Gardens, Roodekrans, Johannesburg


BLACK EAGLE IN FLIGHT – Botanical Gardens, Roodekrans, Johannesburg

The Gardens will be celebrating 10 years of Sappi Sunday Picnic Concerts on 12 September. With Peter’s help, since he’ll be appearing as a guest artist on the Mathys Roets programme. He will also host ‘singer songwriter‘ workshops for aspiring musicians, in line with his and Sappi’s upliftment of this art in South Africa.

Andre Oberholzer, Group Head Corporate Affairs at Sappi Ltd, says that they ‘invited Peter back to South Africa to add a new dimension to our long-standing support for the arts, community development and conservation.’ How fabulous for this country!

Shows are scheduled for Johannesburg, Nelspruit, Cape Town and Franschhoek. For details, go to: 702 Talk Radio.

To wrap up, here’s a video of Peter Sarstedt’s ‘Lovely’ song:

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Rhino horns belong on their heads!

How does a human stoop so low as to slaughter an animal simply to feed their own greed?

It appears that a cartel of poachers has been doing exactly this, close to Johannesburg, by raiding the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve by helicopter at night. They’ve been killing rhino’s, hacking off their horns with chainsaws, and leaving their young distraught and defenceless, if not dead too.

Game rangers took many hours to find the nine-month-old calf of the most recent victim. He has been moved to a camp with other orphaned rhino’s, in part to alleviate his trauma and loneliness, which rhino’s have been rumoured to die from.

About six weeks ago a pregnant rhino and her calf were massacred in the same reserve, for the same reason: to supply the illegal market for rhino horn. A single one is said to fetch around $1,000,000 in China.

There are no adult rhino’s remaining in this park now, but for the record, here is a photo of a youngster that Dave took some time ago:


WHITE RHINO – Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, South Africa Continue reading

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African Penguin Day

Here’s an important reminder of a previous post: if you’re lucky enough to be in Cape Town THIS WEEKEND (25 – 27 September 2009), take a trip to Simon’s Town for the Penguin Festival.

For the first time ever, penguin-lovers will celebrate the 26th September as African Penguin Day!! This is an initiative of SANCCOB international, aimed at raising awareness of this “much loved and ‘vulnerable to extinction’ species”. The opening highlight of the festival will be a beach release of some African Penguins that have been rehabilitated by SANCCOB, which will take place at 10am on the 26th – be sure not to miss it!

The beautiful Boulders Beach Lodge website: www.bouldersbeachlodge.com has more information about this special event. As they explain: “ALL proceeds raised over the weekend go to support SANCCOB (Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds)”, so please take a look. Here’s a pic of one of the Boulders Beach residents, in case you haven’t met them yet:

On this note, sincere gratitude and congratulations to everyone involved in the salvage operation of the Se Li bulk carrier, which ran aground at Table View beach earlier this month. As reported on News24 on Sunday, “the threat of “significant” (oil) spillage…has passed”, despite difficult weather conditions. In case you missed the Carte Blanche article on this, which clearly outlines the extent of the threat, here’s a link to it: Shipwreck.
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Saddle-billed Stork Survey

So how’s this for a bit more synchronicity: just a few days after posting the sequence of images of the Fish Eagle attempting to steal a fish from two Saddle-billed Storks (In Celebration of Birds!), we received an email from the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) – about these very birds.

Here’s their request:

“Join the Endangered Wildlife Trust and SANParks in a photographic survey of Saddle-billed Storks in the Kruger National Park. The survey started on 1 September 2009 and will run for a full calendar year.

This survey forms part of a research project that will be conducted over the next three years on the population status of Saddle-billed Storks, one of Kruger’s rarities, and one of the “Big Six” birds. “Census operations on any species within the boundaries of the Kruger National Park are important to help us get an idea of that species’ status within the context of biodiversity management,” says Marcelle van Hoven, the project’s coordinator. “The last Saddle-billed Stork survey conducted in 1993 suggested that there were less than 60 of these birds left in the Park.”

Saddle-billed Storks (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) are distinctly identifiable by their large size (they stand about 150 cm tall), sharply contrasting black and white plumage and yellow lappet (saddle-like structure) on the bill. The males have a dark eye with two small yellow wattles at the base of the bill, while females have a yellow eye. These birds can also be individually recognised by the details of the front edge of the black band across the red bill. Side-on photographs of all the birds, from both the left and right angles, will be used in identification during the survey.”

Here are two images taken by Dave at the Okavango Delta, which clearly illustrate the difference between the male and female birds:

MALE SADDLE-BILLED STORK - Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana
MALE SADDLE-BILLED STORK – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

FEMALE SADDLE-BILLED STORK - Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana
FEMALE SADDLE-BILLED STORK – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

They go on to say the following:

“Saddle-billed Storks are classified as Endangered in South Africa. They breed slowly and are dependant on extensive wetland habitats, which are under increasing pressure from humans. The flow regimes of rivers passing through the Kruger National Park are expected to change in response to catchment developments outside the Park, and this, together with the removal of artificial water impoundments within the Park, may have a negative impact on this species. In South Africa, Saddle-billed Storks are largely confined to the north-eastern tropical lowland with the majority of the population residing along the riverine habitat in the Kruger National Park. They normally occur in pairs, are strongly territorial and remain in the same area for years.

Visitors who spot a Saddle-billed Stork are asked to take a clear photograph of both sides of the bird’s face and bill and to record information about the sighting including the date, time, location, name of nearby water source, bird’s gender, juveniles present and any other notes that might be relevant. A Saddle-billed Stork census weekend is also planned in the Kruger National Park for later this year, where photographers with the powerful lenses can contribute to this project.

Please keep a special eye out for Saddle-bills and send all sighting details and photographs to storks@ewt.org.za.

This project is sponsored by Tinga Private Game Lodge and Custom African Tours & Safaris.”

Please pass this on to anyone you feel may have the fortune to contribute 🙂
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Synchronicity

Through a sequence of synchronicity, Dave and I are delighted to be joining Hills of Africa on their phenomenal “Soul Safari” in South Africa next month, as the official photographers. This is a 9-day internal and external journey with celebrated … Continue reading

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