Weekly Press Review – 27 February 2018

This week Economic Opportunities MEC, Alan Winde confirmed that incidents of the highly contagious H5N8 avian flu had been found in sea bird populations in the western province.

According to the press seven cases of infected African penguins from six different sites along the provincial coastline have been detected.

“Due to the status of African penguins as endangered, a decision has been made to treat infected birds.

“The management authorities of all major sea bird colonies around the coastline are monitoring their zones closely. All necessary precautionary protocols to contain the spread of the disease have been implemented and extended surveillance and collaboration across the sectors is assisting with further epidemiological evaluations,” said Winde.

An all-women crew from India is currently navigating the globe and will be visiting Cape Town harbour this week.

According to the press, the vessel, the INSV Tarini, is skippered by Commander Vartika Joshi, along with her all female crew from various parts of India.

The aim of the voyage is to encourage woman to feel empowered and promote sailing, as well as to gather meteorological data and showcase India’s capabilities.

The crew have had to navigate some rough seas, but “the journey has been really great,” said Commander Joshi.

This week marks the 101 year anniversary of the sinking of the SS Mendi.  According to the press, the family of Lieutenant Samuel Emslie, who captained the ill-fated troopship, hope that the event will become a permanent feature in school history books across South Africa.

President Cyril Ramaposa spoke at the Armed Forces Day celebration in Kimberley this week. The event commemorates servicemen who have lost their lives in the line of duty, as well as the sinking of the SS Mendi.

President Ramaposa commended the SANDF for its diversity during his address.

Yoshi the loggerhead turtle is also back in the news this week. The turtle, who is fitted with a tracking device, was released from the Two Oceans Aquarium in December and has already covered a distance of 1,860km.

In the two months since her release Yoshi has passed two countries and experts believe that she will either settle at Cape Verde or possibly even cross the Atlantic and head for the nesting populations of the Bahamas, Florida and Mexico.


Weekly Press Review – 13 May 2016

The big maritime news this week was the announcement that after several years of being based in Copenhagen, Safmarine will be moving its head-office back to Cape Town.

Safmarine was founded in South Africa in 1946, taken over by Maersk Line in 1999 and in 2012 the head-offices were moved to Copenhagen.

Vincent Clerc of Safmarine was quoted in the press as saying that as Africa is at the core of the Safmarine strategy, it made sense to move the head-office back to Cape Town.

This week the press also made mention of the shockingly high number of perlemoen already lost to poaching since the beginning of the year. Since the start of 2016, and in the Western Cape alone, a total of 465,351 perlemoen have been poached with an estimated value of R166 million.

Measures are in place to try to stop the ongoing surge of perlemeon poaching with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) working with several other players, including the South African police force, as well as the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), but so far the tide of poaching has not been stemmed.

According to DAFF Minister Zenzeni Zokwana, most of the poached perlemoen is exported to eastern countries.

In a bizarre story also making headlines this week, a resident of Glencairn in the Cape has been arrested for having penguin eggs in his possession.

Apparently the suspect stole the eggs from the Boulders colony, which is part of the Table Mountain National Park and falls under SANParks.

Francois Louw, of the South African National Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, said, “The African Penguin is an endangered species. The population in South Africa is 25,000 breeding pairs, which is critical to the survival of the species. We don’t condone actions that jeopardise the survival of eggs or penguins.”

The 30-year old suspect was arrested on Wednesday and has already appeared in the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court on charges of the illegal possession of penguin eggs.

Weekly Press Review – 29 April 2016

As we face the reality of ever declining numbers within the African penguin population, this week South Africa joined the world in celebrating World Penguin Day.

According to the press the number of African penguins has dropped from over 1 million pairs in the 1920s to a current population of just under 20,000 breeding pairs.

There are still many obstacles to the growth of African penguin populations. These include: pollution, habitat degradation, food shortages, climate change, human disturbance and predators. The African penguin is listed as ENDANGERED.

In response to the endangered status in 2013 the Department of Environmental Affairs and a group of experts from various organisations formed the first national Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) for the African penguin.  Actions within this plan are carried out by two different working groups:  the Population Reinforcement working group and the Habitat working group and the groups are made up of representatives from various organisations, including:  Cape Nature, BirdLife SA, and SAN parks, to name a few.