South Africa: a paradise for a great variety of marine life, wildlife and birds… Sadly more and more species are added to the UCIN Red List of Endangered Species each year. Let us tell you about 5 such endangered species which can still be seen in their natural habitat here in South Africa.
Over the last year, the rhino often headlined the media. During the first half of 2011, 200 rhinos had already been poached. Their horns are brutally removed and illegally exported to the far-east where they are used for traditional medicinal purposes.
Professional poachers are at work. They are rapidly destroying the excellent work conservationists have done over the past century. Government as well as private organisations (eg. "Save the Rhino") are fighting for the rhino's survival. These magnificent animals can still be seen in various of our National Parks.
Great White Sharks
Although they have a wide-spread territory, the great whites are becoming increasingly rare.
Threats include targeted commercial fishing as well as sports fisheries for jaws, teeth and fins, protective beach meshing and the degradation of inshore habitats used as pupping and nursery grounds.
In South Africa the Great Whites have been protected since 1991, due to the important role they play in marine ecosystems. Around the Cape you will find many popular areas for cage diving with these sharks.
Merely 27 African Penguin colonies remain scattered along the South African and Namibian coastline. Over the past 50 years, the number of penguins has decreased by an alarming 80%! The main threats: commercial fishing, lack of food, oil spills and changes in prey concentration. Despite many efforts to save the penguin, their numbers are steadily decreasing.
This is the largest shark species, reaching a length of up to 20 meters. Like most other sharks, they are not dangerous to humans. In south-east Asia populations have nearly been depleted due to harpoon fisheries and incidental capture in fishing nets. Whale Sharks prefer warm waters such as the Indian Ocean along the coast of southern Africa. What an experience to snorkel and dive with these giants of the ocean.
Hippos have only recently been added to the Red List. Over the past decade their numbers have decreased by about 20%. The reasons: illegal and uncontrolled hunting for meat and ivory as well as the degradation of their natural habitat. In South Africa, hippos are well protected and can be seen in impressive numbers in various National Parks.
Plan your tour to South Africa with BOLENG, before these animals become history.