Archive for August, 2009

YOUTH DAY – 16 JUNE

August 17, 2009

Youth Day – 16 June

Youth Day in South Africa commemorates the start of the Soweto riots in Johannesburg in 1976, initially sparked by a government edict that all black schools would be taught the Afrikaans language. This sparked a protest march and in the wake of the clashes with police, the violence that ensued during the next few weeks were so severe that many properties were destroyed and many people killed.

Among those killed was Hector Pieterson, a black school child who was shot by the police.  This brought home to many people within and outside South Africa, the brutalities of the Apartheid regime. The issue however, was not so much the Afrikaans as the whole system of Bantu education which was characterised by separate schools and universities, poor facilities, overcrowded classrooms and inadequately trained teachers.

White Shark Ecoventures celebrated this day by taking youths of our local underprivileged community of Blompark (based in Gansbaai) to an outing at the popular Two Ocean Aquarium in the V & A Waterfront, a two hour drive from their home town.  For many kids this was the first time they had ever been away from their homes and also the first time they have ever visited the big city of Cape Town.

White Shark Ecoventures Tour Guide, Wiehann Myburgh, had great fun with the kids while teaching them about the various different species of sharks as well as fish at the Aquarium.  They were treated to a tasty lunch, drinks and ice cream, before they were transported back to Gansbaai later that day.  A 22-seater luxury bus and driver was also sponsored by the company.

~ Educating our youth for a sustainable future ~  (Directors – White Shark Ecoventures)

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WSE adopts an Eastern Cape African Penguin

August 3, 2009

Eastern Cape African Penguin

Directors of  White Shark Ecoventures have just returned from a visit to the Eastern Cape Penguin Rescue Centre situated at Seal Point Lighthouse, Cape St. Francis, situated approx. 100km from Port Elizabeth.  Directors have been involved in penguin rehabilitation for over 15 years and Mariette Hopley played in integral part in the first major oil spill to hit South Africa in 1994 (Apollo Sea), followed by the Cordigliera and then even more catastrophic Treasure oil spill in 2001.

Over the past years she was also invited to various International Conferences to share her knowledge and expertize to assist with future rescues.  To offer her assistance in this regard was also the reason for her visit to the Eastern Cape Penguin Rescue Centre at Cape St. Francis.  Read more on the rehab centre at http://www.penguin-rescue.org.za/

In addition to the above, White Shark Ecoventures have also made a donation to the centre by adopting the smallest of over 100 penguins called “FAIRY”.  Fairy is so tiny and was in such a frail state when she was picked up on the beach, that she did not even weigh 1 kg!  Today, a few days later, she weighs in at a healty 1.2kg.

The Penguin Rescue Centre is situated at Seal Point lighthouse,  home to the tallest masonry building, standing 27.75 meters high. The focal plane is 36 meters above sea level and the light has a range of 28 sea miles.  Joseph Flack, a civil Engineer and architect who was employed by the Cape Colonial Government at the time, was instrumental in building this majestic building and was also involved in building Robben Island where the famous Nelson Mandela was improsoned during the Apartheid years.

Rescue of stranded Arctic Seal – Eastern Cape

A very rare Arctic Seal pup was found in our waters, more than 6000 kms away from its home – the Arctic waters of the Bering Sea.   It was found on the beach in a state of complete exaustion and de-hydration and was barely breathing.  It was immedaitely taken to the Eastern Cape Penguin Rescue Centre for rehabilitation where it is slowly recovering in the hands of experts.

How this little fella managed to get stranded on one of our beaches is a complete mystery that baffles most bird specialists.   According to a reports, thousands of seal pups have already drowned during the winter rearing season, after slipping off melting and cracked ice in the Arctic Bering Sea.  It has also been reported in 2007 that the “near absence” of ringed seal pups in the Bering Sea is a sure sign that should the current trend of greenhouse-gas emissions continue, all ice-dependent animals will face a grim future and may even face extinction.