REPORT FROM THE WESTERN CAPE BLSA TEAM - 8 MAY 2016
Posted on the 9th May 2016
(We copy report backs for the Western Cape conservation activities from Mark Anderson's weekly report to the SA Bird Club Forum. Read about the fantastic work being done. - Ed.)
Dale Wright returned to work this week and participated in an IBA Programme Skype workshop regarding Biodiversity Stewardship on Wednesday morning. He travelled to the Tulbagh valley on Wednesday evening and gave a presentation to the fledgling Witzenberg bird club, which has attracted good participation since its rejuvenation earlier this year. Dale was interviewed on Thursday morning by a consultant reviewing progress in the SAB Better Barley Better Beer Project, which is undertaking conservation work in the Overberg Wheat Belt IBA. A field trip up the west coast took place on Friday morning to further refine volunteer projects which will form part of the new Cape Town Research and Conservation Initiative.
Verlorenvlei Protected Area Project
Samantha started the week completing a large of admin task. This included finalising arrangements for the venue for the Verlorenvlei Estuary Management Forum Meeting. Printing out the some of the Letters of Support for the declaration of the Moutonshoek Protected Environment. Following up with a landowner in Moutonshoek regarding outstanding documents. And preparing for the Biodiversity Stewardship Skype meeting the following day. On Wednesday the IBA team meet via Skype, where the team members that had attended the Biodiversity Stewardship Learning Workshop gave feedback on the workshop. On Thursday Samantha meet with various departments on site near Elands Bay to evaluate possible illegal activities that have taken place on the edge of Verlorenvlei. On Friday she meet with Jacobus in Moutonshoek to do the final determination and site evaluations for an alien clearing project to be done in the area.
Cape Estuaries Stewardship Project
Giselle Murison spent time this week working on the final report for the Berg River Estuary Alien Vegetation Clean-Up Project. On Friday, she completed mapping, measuring and photographing the erosion points along the river for this project, and met with the invasive alien vegetation clearing team on site to finalise various admin tasks, as this was their last day on the project. On Wednesday, Giselle joined the other members of BirdLife South Africa’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) Team in a skype-based biodiversity stewardship workshop, led by Daniel Marnewick and Candice Stevens, which provided interesting feedback from the Biodiversity Stewardship Learning Exchange, held at Sterkfontein Dam, Free State, in April. Giselle also spent time this week preparing for various upcoming farm/ property visits and for the Berg River Estuary Management Forum next week.
SEABIRD CONSERVATION PROGRAMME
Yuna Kim is in Busan, South Korea, to raise awareness of albatross conservation, do observer training and to negotiate access to some data on at-sea trials of lumo leads that Korean observers conducted. This week she ran two educational sessions for Korean kids (ages 3-12) at the Fishery Science Museum where the seabird photo exhibition is being held. Around 50 kids and their parents attended the sessions and learnt about seabird biology and bycatch issues. In addition, Yuna lead an outreach activity at the museum, handing out albatross pin badges and albatross masks. Bronwyn Maree has been working on the organisation and logistics of two upcoming workshops - one an inception workshop to introduce the Port-Based Outreach work and the second the first in a series of workshops to begin the working towards a global assessment of seabird bycatch (in Papua New Guinea). She has also been invited to present at an Observer Training Workshop in Taiwan later in the month.
Albatross Task Force
Reason Nyengera, the new ATF Instructor, started work on Tuesday. He did an induction to the office and has been doing some background reading. He accompanied Bokamoso Lebepe to the Ocean view Centre for Persons with Disabilities to collect bird-scaring lines and to deliver some orders to fishing companies. Bokomoso went to the harbour to talk to fishing crew about issues affecting seabirds and worked on various administration issues.
Taryn Morris attended the Operation Phakisa Robben Island Marine Protected Area (MPA) stakeholder engagement meeting held at Department of Environmental Affairs on Thursday. She spent most of the week preparing final comments on the Operation Phakisa MPA network. Christina Hagen spent the week in Centurion where she participated in the Operation Phakisa Tourism Lab. Adri Meyer joined Richard Sherley and the EarthWatch team on Robben Island to assist in African Penguin monitoring and to prepare for the tracking work to assess the key foraging areas of breeding African Penguins.
Big news for this week was that, thanks to rapid support from the Executive Board and HQ staff, we signed a lease for additional office space. The seabird team in Cape Town now numbers 10 (including the Common Oceans personnel), so additional space was much needed. Ross Wanless worked with other NGOs to post an online petition in support of plans to expand the network of marine parks. Ross also spent time this week managing the seabird symposium that he is co-convening at the Pan African Ornithological Congress in Dakar in October, and worked with Bryon van Wyk on final design elements for the Marion Island mouse eradication feasibility and risk assessment. This should go to print later this month.
(Images by Dr Ross Wanless & BirdLife Overberg members)