uShaka Sea World curator receives PAAZA Keeper of the Year award

  • 15 June 2015 | Judy Mann, conservation strategist | Category: uShaka news

During the gala dinner of the 2015 PAAZA Conference held at the Salt Rock Hotel in KwaZulu-Natal in May, Simon Chater, curator of the uShaka Sea World aquarium, was awarded the PAAZA Keeper of the Year award.

The award was an acknowledgement of his contribution to animal care over many decades. The citation clearly explained why Simon was a worthy recipient of the award and stated: “Simon epitomises an excellent animal keeper. He is passionate about his animals – fish – and has dedicated his life to their care and display. He is also a calm and effective manager who has, over the years, inspired a new generation of aquarists who care for fish with the same enthusiasm and commitment which Simon displays.”

Simon Chater (centre), flanked on the left by his assistant, Paul Lotter, and uShaka Sea World director Tony McEwan

Simon is one of the most experienced aquarists in South Africa, having started his career as a research assistant with the Oceanographic Research Institute in 1979. Since then he has worked for SAAMBR, as an assistant scientist.

Simon Chater, curator of uShaka Sea World

He was the assistant curator at the Two Oceans Aquarium for seven years, during which time the aquarium was built and stocked. Simon is currently the curator of uShaka Sea World, one of the largest aquariums in the southern hemisphere.

He oversaw the stocking of this enormous aquarium, the move from the old facility to the new facility, and currently manages and guides the aquarists and support staff.

The citation further stated: “Under his leadership the aquarists of uShaka Sea World have developed into a tightly knit team of dedicated people, all committed to the care of their animals. It is thanks to Simon that the uShaka Sea World aquarium is now a world-class facility where hundreds of thousands of people are inspired to care for the oceans each year.”

We at SAAMBR echo this sentiment and thank Simon for his dedication to conservation.

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