One of SAAMBR’s first Conservation Action Campaigns was Penguin Promises. Penguin Promises encourages visitors to uShaka Sea World to take action to help the environment, after their visit. Based on the principles of effective conservation communication, this innovative campaign focuses on the endangered African penguin. The campaign encourages visitors to choose to make one change in their daily lives to become more environmentally responsible. Visitors are then asked to hand write their “Promise to the Penguin” on a postcard and post it in a specially designed post box on site. Their promise is their commitment to the environment. If you would like to learn more about this campaign, or make a promise please go to www.penguinpromises.com
An important function of uShaka Sea World is the rehabilitation of marine animals found stranded along the KwaZulu-Natal coast. These stranded animals are cared for by dedicated staff in our specially designed rehabilitation centre. Once healthy, most of the animals are returned to the sea or, if this is not possible, they are given a home at uShaka Sea World.
uShaka Sea World also provides specialised training to members of the public on how to care for stranded animals on the beach. What to do if you find a stranded animal or download our Stranded Marine Animal Booklet.
The staff of uShaka Sea World Dangerous Creatures exhibit are experts in the care of reptiles. They often rehabilitate snakes, crocodiles and other reptiles, which are brought into the centre by concerned members of the public.
The seafood that we like to eat is in trouble. Worldwide unsustainable fishing has driven some fish populations to very low levels. The situation is no different in South Africa, where stocks of many well-known fish species have been severely depleted. The Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) informs the public about how their choice of fish for consumption can help determine the future health and productivity of our oceans. SAAMBR has actively supported the SASSI campaign since it was formally started by WWF-SA in 2004.
For more information on SASSI and to download some useful tips to help you make on-the-spot sustainable seafood choices go to http://wwfsassi.co.za/tools/
uShaka Sea World Education facilitate sustainable seafood courses for restaurants and fishmongers.
Started in 1984, the Oceanographic Research Institute’s Cooperative Fish Tagging Project (ORI-CFTP), is one of the longest running citizen science projects in Africa. It involves the cooperation of anglers, who voluntarily tag and release their fish, and fishermen, who report, to ORI, the majority of re-caught tagged fish. Information from the project allows scientists to learn more about the movement patterns, growth rates, mortality rates and population dynamics of our important linefish species. This valuable information is used by scientists and managers for policy and decision making. The project has also helped towards changing the ethics of anglers with regard to catch-and-release. This added bonus goes a long way to improve angler awareness about our marine linefish species, as well as contributing towards sustainable fishing.
For more information ORI Tag website – http://www.oritag.org.za/
ORI Tag Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/pg/oritagfish/
Scientists from the Oceanographic Research Institute have been involved in the research and promulgation of numerous Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) on the East Coast of South Africa. Like protected areas on land, MPAs are critical for the conservation of marine ecosystems. MPAs help to restore and preserve biodiversity, and enhance ecosystem resilience. MPAs where no fishing is allowed enable resident fish populations to recover to natural levels.
Protecting more and bigger fish, these protected areas can help to enhance adjacent fisheries and create jobs through improved fishing and ecotourism opportunities. ORI’s research in the St Lucia Marine Reserve Sanctuary and the Pondoland MPA has proved the critical role of these protected areas in fisheries conservation. Adequate management of our MPAs is critical if our children and grandchildren are to enjoy our magnificent marine heritage.
Environmental sustainability is critical at SAAMBR. After all, we need to practice what we preach. Started in 2007, the SAAMBR Green Team was initiated to integrate conservation into the daily operations of the organisation. Made up of representatives of all departments, the Green Team has initiated the installation of recycling stations both in the park and behind the scenes, the placement of conservation messages in strategic positions (like the toilet doors), the installation of vegetable gardens and worm farms, encouraging car-pooling and supporting ‘plastic free’ initiatives. Born out of the Green Team, the joint SAAMBR / DMTP Sustainability Committee looks at site-wide initiatives. Examples of recent activities undertaken by the Sustainability Committee include a rain water harvesting system, and numerous energy saving projects.
SAAMBR is proud to introduce Thandi, our latest Conservation Campaign mascot. Thandi (whose name means “love” in Zulu) is a shy young turtle. She loves young people, is passionate about the marine environment and troubled by the amount of litter on our beaches. Thandi’s primary role is to inspire children visiting uShaka Sea World to place their litter in bins. Litter in a bin can be disposed of through the correct channels. Litter on the ground often ends up in the ocean where it poses a threat to turtles and many other marine creatures. Thandi wants to motivate all of us to make sure that our litter always goes into a bin, to save her and all of her ocean friends.