Current Projects

SANCOBB ADOPT A PENGUIN

Adopt a chick, egg or adult bird currently being reared or rehabilitated prior to being released back into the wild or choose one of our home pen birds, which live permanently at SANCCOB because they cannot survive in the wild owing to injuries or medical conditions.
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The Blue Crew

The Blue Crew was established under the Wildlands Wastepreneur model with the aim to create sustainable livelihoods, while simultaneously cleaning up some of Durban’s coastal waterways. The Blue Crew has been structured into two small businesses, headed up by two strong leaders from the Cato Manor community.
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Whale Time Project

Whale Time is a special time of year on the East Coast of South Africa when we are privileged to observe some of the whale species that frequent the KwaZulu-Natal coast. In particular, the humpback whales migrate close inshore along the coast of KwaZulu-Natal between their summer Antarctic feeding grounds and the coastal waters of Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya, Madagascar, the Mascarenes and the Western Indian Ocean Islands where they give birth to their calves.
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2015 Projects

The Blue Flag Beach Drive - KZN North Coast

In 2015, The Blue Fund will continue to assist WESSA to increase participation of local municipalities in the Blue Flag programme within KwaZulu-Natal, with a specific focus on the Umdoni, KwaDukuza and Umlalazi municipalities. In doing so, The Blue Fund intends to help raise environmental awareness and increase sound environmental practices amongst tourists, local populations and beach management authorities.

SANCOBB X-Ray equipment

In 2015, SANCCOB approached the Blue Fund to donate a new x-ray unit for its facility in Table View, Cape Town. SANCCOB had been making use of a local veterinary practice to do its radiography which posed a number of challenges including:

  • Stress placed on birds in transport
  • Time spent driving to the local veterinary practice in Table View.
  • Time cost of experienced personnel
  • X-ray (per plate) : R145
  • Anaesthetic gas : R90 per 10 minutes

The Blue Fund generously provided the funding to the value of R300 000 for:

1) A new Carestream Vita Flex CR system including:

  • An Ecoray Orange 20 x-ray unit
  • Developer, computer, software and two plates
  • Two lead aprons
  • Two pairs lead gloves
  • Thyroid protector
  • Building preparation

2) An unveiling event on 24 August 2015 at SANCCOB for staff from both Wildlands and Grindrod Bank.

The new X-ray machine has made a big difference to our daily operations in the following ways:

  • SANCOBB are able to do multiple radiographs per bird on a daily basis if required.
  • The process is much less stressful for the bird as there is less handling of the bird, they do not need to be transported and their general rehabilitation routine is not disrupted significantly.
  • Allows for the tracking of the progress of birds with an active disease process (i.e. chest problems or fractures).
  • Allows for the radiographing of birds immediately on admission if required so that their treatment is tailored to their injury from the moment they are admitted.
  • Provides an opportunity to do intraoperative radiography, for e.g. to check whether we are happy with the placement of the pins to fix a fractured bone.
  • It’s very user-friendly and allows the user to add comments or markers to the image after it has been taken, rotate or crop the image, zoom in and out and compare two images on one screen.

Statistics*:

  • Number of birds x-rayed since installation: 174
  • Average x-rays per patient: 2-3
  • Cost-saving on x-rays alone: Approximately R50 460 – R75 690

*Figures accurate from 31 December 2015

Beachwood Nature Reserve Boardwalk Restoration

The Beachwood Nature Reserve, a stone’s throw from the busy CBD, gives visitors a glimpse into a captivating world of mangroves, mudskippers and tidal landscapes. The elevated boardwalk has been laid out as a trail around Beachwood, so even when the tide is in, it’s still possible to explore the reserve. However, in recent years the boardwalk has come into disrepair. Some parts of the boardwalk were built in the 1980s and are nearing a state of collapse. It is for this reason that the reserve sought assistance from The Blue Fund.

With Grindrod having been established in Durban and with a historical link to the city, it was an easy decision to support Ezemvelo and the group of Honorary Officers by sponsoring a new boardwalk to ensure that Beachwood remained effective and safe for the public. The ‘timber’ being used is actually made from recycled plastic, ensuring the link is made between sustainable utilisation and development.

“Our oceans are heavily polluted with plastics, amongst many other things, and by using recycled material for the boardwalk, we are trying to highlight the message of recycling and waste reduction to the public,” said Mark Gerrard, spokesperson for The Blue Fund.

Conservation along our coastlines requires ongoing and consistent effort for true impact and change to be realised. The creation of the Blue Fund and the work that is being done at the Beachwood Nature Reserve, will go a long way towards making this happen.

2014 Projects

The Blue Flag Beach Drive - KZN North Coast

The Blue Flag Programme is an international voluntary eco-label for beaches, marinas, whale-watching boats and boats in general run by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and facilitated in South Africa by WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa). The programme promotes sustainable development in freshwater and marine areas. It challenges local authorities and beach operators to achieve high standards in four categories, namely water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety. The Blue Flag programme is internationally recognised and as such results in significant tourism benefits. Being awarded Blue Flag status provides the municipality and other stakeholders with an effective tool to market the quality of their beaches.

By supporting the Blue Flag programme, The Blue Fund is helping drive the process of achieving Blue Flag status for more of KZN’s breath-taking beaches. In 2014, The Blue Fund supported the efforts of local municipalities to achieve Blue Flag status for three KZN beaches, namely Blythedale, Pennington and Mtunzini.

On 8 October 2014, it was announced that Blythedale (under the KwaDukuza municipality) and Pennington (under the Umdoni municipality) beaches achieved their full Blue Flag accreditation. Mtunizini was awarded pilot status, with the aim of achieving full status in 2015.

African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary - Overstrand region, Western Cape

During 2014, The Blue Fund was actively involved with the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) in establishing arehabilitation centre for injured penguins and seabirds in and around the Gansbaai area, specifically– equipping the rehabilitation laboratory and education auditorium.

Injured birds were historically sent to the only available centre, Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) in Cape Town, and once rehabilitated, released in the Cape Town area. This resulted in unnecessary stress for the birds and posed a challenging journey for them in trying to find their way back to their home colony. A need for another rehabilitation facility became clear – and The Blue Fund offered support.

With the help of corporate sponsorship, Dyer Island Conservation Trust was able to purchase land and began building infrastructure in August 2014.

The African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS) was opened in Gansbaai the week of the 26th of February, marking a monumental milestone for the conservation of the African penguin and other marine birds in the Overstrand region of the Western Cape.

Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, who officially opened the centre, said “projects of this nature are about the common good – good for the environment, the community and the country as a whole.”

A custom designed, world-class, marine bird rehabilitation centre, the APSS will provide temporary rehabilitative care to diseased, displaced, injured, oiled and abandoned marine birds, with a special focus on the endangered African penguin. Marine bird rescue, rehabilitation and release form part of the management plan to conserve and maintain African penguins and other marine bird populations along the South African coastline.

Featuring a unique rehabilitation area with a specialised floor, laboratory and clinic, the APSS is the first of its kind in the world. Rehabilitation techniques will be honed to afford birds in treatment minimum stress. This maximises their rehabilitation and affords them the best chance of survival when released back into the wild.

Through continued research, education and awareness programmes, the APSS, a project driven by the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) in conjunction with tourism partners Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises, aims to mitigate the human impact on marine bird colonies.

“The support we received from our partners and affiliates, as well as the donations of materials from various corporates to complete the APSS have been a big vote of confidence in our work,” said Wilfred Chivell, founder of DICT and APSS. “We are grateful to have sponsors and partners who recognise the importance of this facility in the conservation of our marine birds. We are the voice of these species that cannot speak for themselves.”

Among the guests that attended the launch were Overstrand Mayor Nicolette Botha-Guthrie and representatives from corporate sponsors Grindrod Bank and Volkswagen South Africa.

Grindrod Bank recently partnered with Wildlands Conservation Trust to establish “The Blue Fund”, an initiative solely dedicated to fund coastal conservation projects. The APSS represents the first of such projects in the Western Cape.

“This project represents what can be achieved by passionate people who are involved in conservation and environmental work,” said Dr Andrew Venter, CEO of Wildlands. “Penguins are under severe threat with most colonies shrinking and it is so important that we do what we can to save every birds life.”

“We are proud to invest in our ecological heritage in partnership with organisations that are actively involved in the conservation of South Africa’s rich natural environment,” said Mike Hankinson, Grindrod Limited Chairman. “As Grindrod has its roots in the maritime industry, we are also keenly aware of the importance of conserving and protecting our marine resources and are therefore especially excited about our involvement with the Dyer Island Conservation Trust.”

The fully functional APSS will be able provide marine avian species with a local rehabilitation centre where injured, diseased and distressed birds can be treated and rehabilitated for release back into the Overstrand region.

Watch the "Gansbaai opened a penguin rehabilitation centre" video

Coastal Forest Restoration - Port St. Johns, Eastern Cape

The project is a collaborative effort between WESSA, Wild Coast Farm & Forest, and the Wild Coast Forest Users Association (WCFUA). The Blue Fund will assist WESSA in the creating of a sustainable livelihood for the forest-using communities of Pondoland, specifically those crafters living in both the Ntsubane Forest Complex and Caquba.

It aims to work with crafters from at least four priority forest areas of Pondoland.

As part of the deliverables for this initiative, crafters living and working in the area have been identified and initial work has already been conducted which includes:

  • Quantifying existing craft production and performing qualitative evaluation of existing work
  • Identifying local challenges hindering craft production and sales of craft for sustainable livelihoods
  • Initiating the formalisation of crafters within the Wild Coast Forest Users Association (WCFUA)
  • Establishing a ‘Fair Trade’ brand and local retail outlet.