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For further info see The Seals of Nam website

Shark Finning –

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Beach Clean Up — Cape Town

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Each year, three times as much rubbish is dumped into the world’s oceans as the weight of fish caught. To put this into perspective,  in 1950, 20 million tons of fish were caught globally. In 1996 120 million tons of fish were caught. This means we are looking at around 400 MILLION TONS of rubbish being dumped in the oceans each year! All this pollution of the oceans from the various sources is taking a HUGE toll.

Sea Shepherd Volunteers
Trash delivered to Dept 

On Saturday the 9th of April, I organised that the Cape Town chapter of Sea Shepherd South Africa would get together and do our bit. It was a fairly successful event. We had around 30 volunteers and managed to pick up around 80 bags of trash, mostly plastic, styrofoam containers and broken glass. The irony was that all this trash lies less than 150 meters from the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. By way of making a statement, we delivered the trash to their very doorstep. 

There is most certainly a need for this type of event to happen on a regular basis. Why?

1. To save our wildlife
 Each year, hundreds of thousands of sea birds become entangled in marine debris. They lose their legs, they cannot swim or feed. They either starve to death or drown. Entanglement is not limited to birds, but affects all types of creatures including whales, sharks, dolphins, seals and turtles. In fact, plastic marine debris affects at least 267 species worldwide, including 86 percent of all sea turtle species, 44 percent of all sea bird species, and 43 percent of marine mammal species. Marine animals also mistake trash for food and many die from consuming plastic bags, cigarette butts and debris from fire works. 

2. Our Economy

Beaches are an ideal tourist attraction. The V & A Waterfront in Cape Town (for example) is known as a premier tourist destination. By maintaining the highest standards, we can ensure a continuous stream of tourism. The revenue generated from the support of tourists is essential to our community. To ignore this factor would not be our wisest of choices.

3. Clean Beaches

For many of us, a day at the beach is where we go to relax after a hard weeks work. It is a time of recreation and to be with our children and families. We certainly don’t want this spoiled by sitting in a pile of filth or worse yet, injuring ourselves by stepping on shards of broken glass.

So what exactly IS marine debris? Where does it come from?

Marine debris is trash or other solid material, which enters oceans and often washes up on beaches. Research has indicated that more than 80% of marine debris comes from land based pollution. When it rains, trash left on the sidewalks and streets is washed into storm drains, which is then carried to the nearest waterway, and eventually flows into the ocean. Often beach goers themselves are responsible and leave their litter lying around where it it blows around and ends up in the sea. Ocean users, such as recreational and commercial fishermen, may lose or discard fishing materials and other debris overboard. Sometimes this is unintentional, other times deliberate. Common forms of marine debris include plastic bags and cooldrink bottles, styrofoam containers from take-aways, nappies, cigarette butts, glass, clothing, tyres, rope, floatation devices, condoms, soda cans, pill bottles, film canisters etc

Save Shark Sunday

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  • Not all species of sharks are required to be in continuous motion to breathe
  • A shark’s teeth are usually replaced every eight days.
  • Some species of sharks shed about 30,000 teeth in their lifetime.
  • As sharks never get cancer, their cartilage is being studied in the hope of developing anti-cancer drugs
  • The Whale shark is considered the biggest fish in the world
  • The Basking shark is the second largest, it is as long as 40 feet.
  • The Pygmy shark is about 11 inches in length
  • The Dwarf shark is as tiny as you hand, while some Whale sharks are as large as a bus
  • The Dogfish sharks are so named, because they attack their prey like a pack of wild dogs
  • Great white sharks can grow about 10 inches every year, thus, they grow to mature lengths of 12 to 14 feet
  • Up to 100 MILLION sharks are killed each year for shark fin soup. By contrast, less than 50 people are killed by sharks each year!

Pic of the Day

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Mossy Leaf-tailed Gecko

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I have always had a fascination for gecko’s. There is something about them that I find incredibly appealing. At one stage I had a cat that shared my fascination with these creatures although she would bring them into the flat to torment. I could hardly blame the cat though, for this is in their nature.

I recently stumbled across the following images of the Mossy Leaf Tailed Gecko. I am posting these to share with the readers of this blog just how absolutely incredible their camouflage is. 
 According to Wikipedia, this species is to be found in the forests of Madagascar. These geckos can also change the colour of their skin, much like  chameleons do. They have dermal (skin) flaps that further break up their outline when they are at rest. They are listed on appendix 2 of CITES as loss of habitat and collection for the pet trade threatens them.

These gecko’s are nocturnal, their large, yellow lidless eyes with elliptical pupils are well suited to their night time habits. During the day, they usually spend their time resting vertically on branches and tree trunks, with their heads facing downwards. At night they will venture out in search of prey. They are insectivorous and will eat a variety of insects.

Blink and it is GONE!!!
The adults measure on average between 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm’s) and while they are to be found in captivity, they do not fare particularly well. WWF have listed this species on their “Top 10 most wanted list” of animals threatened by illegal wildlife trade. They are being captured and sold at an alarming rate. As far as reproduction is concerned, they will lay eggs are laid +/- every 30 days and take around 90 days to hatch. 

Great White more threatened than tigers!!

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Great White Shark, taken off Gansbaai, SouthAfrica. Amazing shot! I am hoping to do a cage dive soon. Will let you know how it went of course. Damn! I am looking forward to it. 
The one thing that really scares me is not the multiple rows of around 3000 teeth. Not at all. The thing that really terrifies me is the fact that these apex predators from the ocean are more threatened than tigers! Yup, you read that correctly. More threatened than tigers!
Like tigers, great whites are a top predator and, like tigers, they have suffered in recent years from habitat destruction and hunting. But unlike tigers, great white sharks get little public sympathy, said Dr Ronald O’Dor, senior scientist at the Census of Marine Life, a 10-year study into ocean wildlife.
An article in The Guardian mentions that the number of Great White sharks has dropped to an alarming 3500. This is really frightening, especially when one considers that the demand for shark fin soup has risen steeply over the last few years. Popular movies, such as Peter Benchley’s “Jaws” where these creatures are portrayed as villains don’t help one iota. 
We need to take drastic action. Seriously. Boycott all restaurants selling shark-fin soup. The damn dish has no nutritional value at all and is not doing the environment any good.
On a more positive note, the USA have taken a step in the right direction, and are now at the forefront of shark conservation. The US Senate recently passed the Shark Conservation Act, which bolsters the prohibition of shark-finning in US waters. If you would like to know more about this you can click HERE 

A tribute to Sea Shepherd

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I made this last night for Sea Shepherd SA. Very moving, I hope you like it. No copy right infringement intended. Backing track is Sarah McLachlan. I do not own the rights to the pics, they were taken off the web. I do not make money out of this.

Pic of the Day

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Cool pic!

The Clash of Titans

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These dramatic pictures show a clash of the titans as a protective mother elephant and a ferocious crocodile get into an epic tug of war in Zambia. The female elephant and her calf were drinking from the Luangwa River in the South Luangwa National Park when they were attacked.

The Crocodile launches its surprise attack as mother elephant and calf enjoy a drink
Baby elephant hides behind its mother 
Mother elephant is brought to her knees as the croc thrashes around
Mother elephant manages to turn away from the river, despite the crocs attempts to pull her in
With baby safe away from the water, mother elephant begins to flee, with crocodile still clamping down on her trunk
The mighty elephant drags the croc from the water
Despite the unwanted appendage, both mother and calf break out into a run
Freedom. Water gushes from her trunk as baby momentarily stumbles over the predator.

Despite their ordeal, mother and calf were spotted later that day drinking further downstream

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