IBA Champion Dr Dave Whitelaw
After all the planning and strategising is done, it is the visible and practical conservation
of IBAs that is the key measure of our success. This conservation at site level would not be possible without the assistance of local champions who voluntarily give of their time and skills to assist BirdLife South Africa.
Dr Dave Whitelaw joined the Cape Bird Club Committee in 1988 and has been serving on it for the past 25 years. In 1989 he formed the club’s Conservation Committee and has been the chairman ever since. Dave has been involved in Coordinated Waterbird Counts (CWACs) and Coordinated Avifaunal Road (CAR) counts for a number of years and has played an active role on the Western Cape Birding Forum since its inception.
Since 2000 Dave has focused his conservation work on the False Bay Ecology Park IBA, particularly the Strandfontein Birding Area. Through his positions on the Julie te Groen Trust and Cape Bird Club, Dave serves on the committee overseeing the Memorandum of Understanding between BirdLife South Africa, the City of Cape Town and the Cape Bird Club. Dave’s position with the Julie te Groen Trust requires almost daily contact with Erica Essig, manager of the Strandfontein Birding Area.
Dave gives tirelessly of his personal time, without financial or other gain, and is a role model for the kind of impact a volunteer can make in conservation. During his outgoing address as BirdLife South Africa’s President, Professor Peter Ryan remarked on Dave’s contribution, using him to illustrate the power of the volunteer.
Dave has been a passionate birder for more than 25 years, but it is for his championing of bird conservation at our IBAs that we truly commend him. We hereby acknowledge Dave as an IBA Champion and thank him for his immense contribution to the False Bay Ecology Park.
There are many other champions of IBAs across the country and we will be using this platform to highlight their work and acknowledge their contributions. Please contact iba@ birdlife.org.za if you would like to follow Dave’s example and become an IBA Champion or form a Local Conservation Group.