Welcoming the Whales 2019

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WCA Partner Sodurba CTO is the official tourism body for Durban South (the South Durban Basin, Wilson’s Wharf, Yellowwood Park and Isipingo) with Durban Tourism as its partner. Their aim is to collectively and boldly develop and promote responsible, exciting, creative and sustainable tourism for the benefit of all Sodurba stakeholders and community.

With the support of Durban Tourism and sponsors Sodurba have hosted the 3rd Annual “Welcoming of the Whales” event from 27th June 2019 to 30th June 2019. The event took place in Foreshore Drive, between Ansteys Beach and Brighton Beach, Bluff and included an Educational Centre; market, food stalls and various beach activities and exhibitions. Thursday 27th June brought back their Wine and Cheese evening with Eclectic Ella show casing her designer range. To end off the festival in 2019 there was a once in a life time private tour to the Old Whaling Station  on Sunday the 1st July, with special guest Peter Froude.

The intensity of whaling in the Southern hemisphere, including off the coast of Durban, led to the near expiration of many baleen whale species, including both humpback and southern right whales. Humpback whales; over the course of the whaling period, an estimated 28, 040 individual whales were taken from the east coast of Southern Africa. By the end of the whaling period, a post-exploitation population in the southwest Indian Ocean of as little as 340 individuals – a mere 10% of the original population. The Southern Hemisphere by 1986, and the South African Governments decision to draft and implement legalisation to limit and govern boats approaching whales (see the Marine Code of Conduct), as well as the efforts of various conservation efforts that were made and are being made globally, these two species have partially recovered in some areas, and continue to increase their numbers every year!

Surveys of humpback whales have estimated that the humpback whale population that migrate past Durban have increased from the mere 340 individuals to approximately 7000 individuals – an incredible recovery of approximately 90% of the original pre-exploitation stock. As a result of these recent population recoveries, the humpback whales which migrate along the east coast of South Africa through the coastal waters of Durban are currently listed as “Least Concern”.

So, how can you help us help the whales? Go Responsible Whale Watching

Increasing our knowledge and understanding of these extraordinary marine mammals’ biology and population structure, from the photographs you send us, will help to improve the accuracy of the data used in assessments of the recovery and conservation of these species.

Become informed about the legislation surrounding whales (see Marine Code of Conduct).

Report beached whales (contact listed in Marine Code of Conduct).

Only Do Responsible Whale Watching with Legal Permit holders.

You can also:

Get involved with various marine conservation efforts, such as:

The Source to Sea programme which aims to, amongst other things, protect and restore marine habitats and reduce negative impacts on marine and coastal habitats.

Sea Shepherds South Africa (including a base in Durban) who are dedicated to marine conservation.

Whales are a symbol of nature in its grandest form – massive, beautiful, powerful, and graceful.  They are ancient, managing so far to survive every planetary disaster and human-caused threat, from hunting to habitat loss.  They are gentle, inquisitive, intuitive, forgiving, and sentient. Their story of recovery from levels that were arguably close to extinction shows that conservation clearly can work and, in light of the trend of declining global biodiversity, should be celebrated as a symbol of hope for human survival, for the health of our oceans, and for the conservation of nature.

Sodurba would like to thank our many sponsors, Durban Tourism; CMH Kempster Ford; Fabricon; Electric Ella; Bluff Eco Park; Toffee Designs and South Durban Basin.

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