TEEING OFF FOR THE AFRICAN PENGUIN
The African Penguin is facing severe pressure, to the extent that the IUCN recently decided to upgrade the bird's conservation status on its Red Data List for birds from Vulnerable to Endangered. BirdLife Overberg hosted a charity golf day on 10 June 2010 at the Hermanus Golf Club to raise funds for educational campaigns to benefit this highly threatened bird. The organisations that will benefit from these fund raising efforts are BirdLife South Africa's Seabird Division, the Dyer Island Conservation Trust and SANCCOB.
BirdLife Overberg is the regional branch of BirdLife South Africa and its members attempt to realize the aims of the national organization in the Overberg. Several fund raising events have been undertaken in the past and the presentation of a golf day in collaboration with the Hermanus Golf Club was a logical continuation of the club's fund raising efforts. A brief fact sheet outlining the problems that the African Penguin is experiencing and the three conservation agencies that will benefit most from the fund raising efforts can be found on the club's website at www.westerncapebirding.co.za.
The weather on the day was perfect and the participating organisations and local artist Angela Key held exhibits to introduce the golfers to a variety of avian conservation issues. The stars of the show were undoubtedly Rocky, a Rock-hopper Penguin and Columbine, an African Penguin who are being used by SANCCOB for educational purposes. The antics of these birds had the players in awe. Members of BirdLife Overberg worked at the halfway refreshment stands sponsored by Eastcliff Spar, Stretton's Gin and Tru-Cape and this contributed to a great atmosphere on the day.
The highlight of the day was certainly the prize giving ceremony in the evening that was attended by the vast majority of participants, as well as other guests. Significantly, all of the 21 teams that have won prizes, the winners of the eight closest to the pin competitions and the five lucky draw winners were present to collect their prizes. The third prize, a four-ball at the Arabella Golf Course went to Chicken Basson of Lenvalco's team. The second prize, gift hampers from Johnson and Johnson went to D. Romburgh, Shawn Smith, George Sauerman and Andrew Phillip. The overall first prize, four weekends for couples to Protea Hotels was won by Paul Slabbert's team representing Stretton's Gin.
Mr. Theo Beyleveldt, the Executive Mayor of the Overstrand Municipality, also announced that the Stony Point penguin site at Betty's Bay will be improved soon to cater for the growing birding tourism market to our shores. Details of these developments will be released soon and this should contribute meaningfully to awareness about the plight of the African Penguin.
The outcome from the golf day is that it will become an annual event and that BirdLife Overberg will develop and print a bird checklist for the Hermanus Golf Club. This fund raising effort has been extended further with the raffling of a magnificent painting by local artist Angela Key that will run until the end of September – details of which can be found on the mentioned website.
The members of BirdLife Overberg are proud to be the first bird club in South Africa to have presented such a golf day and would like to express their sincere appreciation to all donors, sponsors and players who have contributed to making this day such a major success. The full list of contributors is listed in an advertisement within the newspaper and on the website. Contact Anton at email@example.com or 0825503347 to obtain details of future events, or to contribute to this worthy cause. (A picture gallery on the BLO golf day can be viewed under "gallery". - Ed.)
Rocky doing the diski
Preparing to tee off
Table full of prizes
Part of crowd at prize giving
1st prize winners: Paul Slabbert & team from E. Snell & Co