Addo Marine Protected Area receives a lifeline on World Environment Day



Published Jun 5, 2024


The Addo Marine Protected Area has received a lifeline from the Wilderness Foundation Africa (WFA), fittingly on World Environment Day on Wednesday.

The WFA handed a R1.3 million cheque, coming from the Oak Foundation, to SA National Parks (SANParks) board chairperson Pam Yako, who received it on behalf of Addo Elephant National Park for the purchase of a new patrol boat for its Marine Protected Area (MPA).

The annual World Environment Day is celebrated every June 5 and is meant to encourage awareness and action for the protection of the environment.

SANParks regional spokesperson Fayroush Ludick, in a statement, said that the patrol boat, once launched, will aid rangers’ work in conserving and protecting the 114 000-hectare marine component of AENP, which protects a wide range of ecosystems, including sandy beaches, rocky shores, reefs, an estuary and islands.

“It also protects important feeding areas for the 3 000 pairs of endangered African penguins breeding in Algoa Bay and the 90 000 pairs of endangered Cape gannets breeding at Bird Island,” she said.

She added that a small team of marine rangers was tasked with MPA’s safety, security and conservation.

“They provide an ever-vigilant presence in the area, as team members alternate between being based on Bird Island and on vessels in and around the MPA. Since their establishment, they have made a number of arrests, confiscated numerous vessels and fishing equipment and issued various fines for marine-related crimes,” she said.

Handing over the cheque, WFA CEO Dr Andrew Muir said their foundation encouraged collaborative relationships it has entered into with SANParks.

He said the project emphasised the support of young people from previously disadvantaged communities to become dedicated rangers working to safeguard vital ecosystems for future generations.

“SANParks and WFA have a long-standing relationship in the interest of conservation, particularly in AENP. Both organisations share a vision to enhance biodiversity conservation efforts and have worked closely over the years on various conservation, responsible tourism and socio-economic development projects in and around the park.

“This is the kind of work that we are only too happy to partner and to continue to help SANParks with … so it’s exciting as this new dawn in conservation that there are these huge opportunities in front of us. We stand ready to help SANParks, the precious heritage that they continue to protect,” Muir said.

Yako said: “This is an important day for us because of people in the environment, conservation, biodiversity and management. I can name a few who are celebrating World Environment Day and it was a day that we decided we can't just leave it like it is any other day.

“This is a moment to pause and call for celebration because as a collective and as people who work for SANParks and the communities that we work with including the WFA. On the one hand we are seeing quite an awareness of the need to protect nature and conserve the environment, but at the same time we are starting to see worrying trends that include environmental degradation and climate change.”

The Star