Save Our Seabirds (SOS) Festival 2011

  • Posted: Oct 5, 2011

Cape Town, 5 October: The Save Our Seabirds Festival is a National Marine Week initiative from BirdLife South Africa. It will run from 10-16 October 2011, in partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs, Iziko Museums and the V&A Waterfront and will focus public awareness on marine conservation issues and the successful measures to address these.

This year the SOS Festival is bigger and better than ever. Highlights include the annual “Oceans of Life” photographic competition at the Iziko South African Museum, presented in association with Orms Pro Photo Warehouse and the Natural History Unit Africa. The winner will receive a top-of-the range professional camera and telephoto lens from Canon. The exhibition remains open to the public until 20 November, when the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition opens.  Daily entrance to the museum is free to under-18s.

Activities at the V&A Waterfront include daily live cooking shows by professional chefs, demonstrating delicious ways to prepare sustainably harvested seafood. The “Blue Shed” Craft Centre will be inhabited daily by a team from the Ocean View Association for Persons with Disabilities, who make devices that prevent seabirds from being killed during commercial fishing. Documentary films will be screened at the Amphitheatre from 1 pm daily, including the shortened version of the End of the Line. Free daily tours of working Irvin and Johnson commercial fishing vessels will give an idea of what living and working at sea is all about. For birding enthusiasts, a highlight of the week is the two birding tours to Robben Island in search of the elusive Chukar Partridge and the feral population of Common Peacocks.

Other events include a series of three evening lectures at the Iziko South African Museum, with complimentary snacks and wine served afterwards. Entrance to these events is free (although booking is essential).

Monday evening (10 October) features the launch of SOS Festival, opened officially by Ms Wadzinyani Mandivenyi (Department of Environmental Affairs). This preceeds a lecture by Prof. John Croxall (CBE, FRS) titled Saving South Georgia’s seabirds: the greatest island restoration programme ever undertaken. Monday will also feature the launch of the second BirdLife South Africa-endorsed wine, a white blend of Chenin and Sauvignon blanc, from Diemersfontein Wine Estate, labelled “For the Birds”.

On Wednesday 12 October, Prof Phil Hockey will give a talk titled Changing fortunes of South Africa’s coastal birds - good, bad and ugly. The lecture will be followed by Owl Award presentations.

On Friday the closing remarks will be made by Mr Ashley Naidoo (Department of Environmental Affairs). The lecture will be given by BirdLife South Africa’s CEO, Mark Anderson, titled From bright pink to black-and-white: how Lesser Flamingos will help save the African Penguin The lecture will be followed by the announcement of the winner of the photographic competition and prize-giving. Each evening will have other activities, including fun lucky-draws with great prizes.

BirdLife South Africa and its Seabird Division is at the forefront of seabird conservation action, locally and internationally. The SOS Festival is being held to raise awareness and funds for seabird conservation. Seabirds are the most threatened group of birds in the world – almost one third of all seabird species are threatened. We risk losing such iconic birds such as the African Penguin and the majestic albatrosses that roam the Southern Ocean. Our acclaimed Albatross Task Force has made huge strides towards reducing accidental albatross mortalities. The Seabird Division is actively involved with helping to save the African Penguin. But we need to step up our efforts to protect seabirds, because the current losses for many species are not sustainable. The SOS Festival aims to educate the public about the threats seabirds face and inspire them to help BirdLife South Africa make a difference.

Iziko Museums (Iziko) operates 12 national museums in Cape Town amalgamated in 1999 to drive development and transformation imperatives. The museums that make up Iziko have their own history and character, presenting extensive art, social and natural history collections which reflect our diverse African heritage. The Iziko South African Museum, where the exhibitions and lecture take place, is not only the home of significant marine collections but also the base for ongoing linked marine research. Iziko strongly supports the need to create greater environmental awareness specifically with regard to marine conservation and our museums are spaces for cultural interaction and discussion.  We are thus delighted to be one of the host venues for the SOS Festivals. Iziko is a space where knowledge is shared, stories told and experiences enjoyed.

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For further information:
website:www.birdlife.org.za and look under ‘Events’
Christina Moseley: (021) 419-7347
email: christina.moseley@birdlife.org.za


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