Mahdia miners accuse Govt of snatching their livelihood

first_img…Opposition Leader labels move as an unconscionable assaultA large group of small miners in Mahdia, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) on Wednesday protested the seizure of their mining equipment by operatives of Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) as they expressed calls for amnesty. The miners gathered in the town of Mahdia as they stood united, saying “bread” is being taken out of their mouths as they called for total amnesty after their equipment were seized. The miners accused the David Granger led-administration of snatching their livelihood from them.The protest comes days after the GGMC raided Mahdia and surrounding communities seizing equipment for alleged breached of mining protocols. The miners are contending that the long waiting period for permits and the alleged corruption by GGMC officers have left them non-compliant with regulations.“We are asking for total amnesty… whatever the consequences are after thisSeveral small miners gathered in Mahdia, Region Eight as they protested the GGMC’s seizure of their equipmentbreach then we will accept it,” one protesting miner said.They said too that the penalties meted out to them were too harsh. The aggrieved miners told members of the media that the process of obtaining a mining permit takes some six weeks to two months to be granted and they noted that they cannot leave their operations to transact business in Georgetown for such prolonged periods of time.“We have to be waiting long periods before we could get and renew the applications so all of them things does cause these people to breach orders and when they do, they does be treating us like criminal, running us with guns!” one miner decried.“We are just asking that they come with good orders so that we can follow… the rules could have been fit in in a systematic way so that the people could comply and continue earning,” said a dredge owner who had his motor engine seized.Others spoke out against alleged corrupt compliance officers in the area who they say would often accept bribes from errant miners.“They did not say anything to us, they usually take bribes and allow people to work so now when the people feel free to work, they coming down on them harshly,” one miner expressed.Some small miners even berated the granting of lands to foreign nationals, saying that Guyanese are being “left with nothing”.“The big men them are getting lands to work and the small miners are being suffocated, nothing for them, we own Guyanese people!” the media was told.Unconscionable assaultThe miners observed that they want President David Granger to intervene even as Opposition Leader Bharat Jagdeo termed GGMC’s actions an “unconscionable assault”. He too called on the Head of State to immediately reverse the decision which is affecting working class citizens in Mahdia and elsewhere.“This sort of callous and uncaring decision will only serve to further hurt our smallTwo small miners hold placards in front of the Mahdia GGMC’s officeminers, who have families to maintain and children to send to school…. we have a Government that has done nothing to improve the fortunes of small miners or the working class, for that matter. The Ministers sit in their offices and gorge themselves on privileges using taxpayers’ monies, while every single day they come up with new ways to launch an assault on our working class and productive sectors,” the Opposition Leader said.As such, he called for attention to be given to small miners given the importance of the mining sector to Guyana’s economy. The Opposition Leader has also been for the last few years calling on the coalition Government to reduce the tax burden on the business sector, including the mining industry. Calls to GGMC Chairman Stanley Ming for comment on the matter on Wednesday afternoon were unanswered.last_img read more

Cuban charged for overstaying in Guyana

first_imgAfter a video surfaced on social media and vent viral which showed a Cuban climbing over a fence at a popular George Street, Werk-en-Rust, Georgetown, strip club and bar, she was charged for overstaying in Guyana.Dailyn De La Guerra admitted to the offence after appearing in court on Friday. The charge which was read by Magistrate Leron Daly stated that the woman on February 5, 2019, at Georgetown, failed to comply with conditions having received permission to stay in Guyana from December 28, 2018, to January 1, 2018.Guerra was fined $30,000. Failure to pay the fine will result in her serving six months’ imprisonment. She will be deported after paying her fine or serving the jail sentence.Police ranks, during a sting operation earlier this month, visited the Diamond Strip Club and Bar and carried out a raid. Guerra along with several others were arrested. During an investigation, the woman was asked to provide her passport which showed that she overstayed her time here in Guyana. Two employees from the said club were also arrested and charged for trafficking ten women for sexual exploitation.last_img read more

Gates in Iraq to pressure al-Maliki to move faster

first_imgDriving al-Maliki are divisive ethnic and sectarian forces in his own government as well as a tenacious Sunni Arab insurgency. The result is that the American and Iraqi governments appear to be almost talking past each other. The Maliki government has been thrown into turmoil by the resignation of six Cabinet ministers loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr, the renegade cleric who was al-Maliki’s strongest political backer. The series of car bombs planted by Sunni insurgents that killed nearly 200 Iraqis on Wednesday made it far harder for al-Maliki to encourage his Shiite constituents to pursue reconciliation with Sunnis. And the Sunni Arab insurgency the Americans are pushing al-Maliki to negotiate with remains fragmented, without a single bargaining position. The Americans, along with moderate Iraqi politicians, believe the key to peace in Iraq and ultimately to an American withdrawal is real power-sharing between Shiites, Sunni Arabs and Kurds. But each group is reluctant to make any compromise that might reduce its leverage. “The political track has yet to gain traction,” said Barham Salih, a deputy prime minister from Kurdistan. “We need a grand bargain among Iraqis to establish a sustainable and balanced power sharing arrangement. We thought that the constitution would do it, but it did not.” BAGHDAD, Iraq – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates arrived here on Thursday intending to pressure Prime Minister Nouri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq to move faster on Sunni-Shiite reconciliation at a moment when al-Maliki’s ability to deliver appears limited, at best. Gates told reporters he would press the government to pass laws on oil revenue sharing and rolling back purges of Sunni Arabs from the government. Political realities But the visit is more likely to bring into focus the starkly different political realities that drive the two governments. Driving the American timetable are the bipartisan push in Congress to put limits on the American commitment in Iraq, the promise that the increase in American troops would only last a few months and the 2008 presidential campaign, which will accelerate after Labor Day. “There is no way that Iraq’s predicament will be fixed by August,” he added, “but I think it’s fair for the people of Iraq and for our allies in the United States to expect some demonstrable progress by then.” Gates told reporters traveling with him that he planned to warn the Maliki government in a meeting today that the American military buildup was not open-ended. “I’m sympathetic to some of the challenges they face” but “the clock is ticking,” he said, adding, “Frankly, I would like to see faster progress” on “getting some of these laws enacted.” President George W. Bush, who was speaking at a town hall-style meeting in Tipp City, Ohio, echoed those sentiments. “The Iraqi government has a lot of work to do to convince skeptical nations that they are going to be a pluralistic society,” he said. The American list of must-haves includes two pieces of legislation in addition to the oil law and the rollback of de-Baathification: a rewriting of how powers are divided between the regions and central government in the constitution and setting a date for provincial elections. Lacks the power A political adviser to al-Maliki said the prime minister lacked the power to push those through no matter how much pressure the Americans put on him. “These matters should be approved by the Council of Representatives, not by the government,” said Sadiq al-Rikabi, using the official name of the Iraqi parliament. “The government just puts forward the drafts. The Cabinet can encourage the Council of Representatives to accelerate to approve these laws. Otherwise, the prime minister does not have any authority to approve these laws.” Al-Rikabi said al-Maliki relied on cooperation from the various political blocs, and that the cooperation “differs from one bloc to another, and from one issue to another.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Rojo Row Your Boat, Martin Skulltel and Kyle Walker The Plank – Pirate Pun Football XI

first_img talkSPORT Pirates 1 We’ve gone all pirate radio at talkSPORT today.No, not that kind of pirate radio! To celebrate the new series of Black Sails on History, we’ve been getting into the spirit – or rum, in Alan Brazil’s case – with plenty of pirate-themed shenanigans, including a pirate pun football XI.Check out some of the best suggestions and feel free to jump on board with your own pirate puns!last_img

BUDGET FROM HELL: DONEGAL IS HAMMERED IN CUTBACKS

first_imgBORDER town filling stations relying on Northern drivers have been left devastated by the budget.Towns like Bridgend are the only reason many Northerners cross the Border – with so many shoppers from Donegal heading the other direction.Prices for petrol and diesel in recent months have been becoming less competitive. Now yesterday’s announcement that an additional 2 cent will be added to the price of diesel and a further 4 cent to petrol will leave Northern motorists thinking twice about coming across the border.Yesterday’s budget has further wiped out that price difference – and hundreds of jobs along the Border with it.The Government’s dreaded €6 BILLION cutback budget included a raft of cuts.The dole and other payments cut by €9 a week, with child benefit being slashed by €10 a month per child, and double that for the third child. The lower paid – who traditionally have not paid tax – will be brought into the tax net gradually.While there are to be no changes to the top and lower income tax rates, tax bands are to be narrowed which will mean more people pay the higher rate of income tax.Income tax bands and credits to be cut by 10 per cent.Fat cat civil servants at the top of semi-state bodies will keep their salaries, but new appointees to semi-state bodies will be capped at €250,000.The Taoiseach’s salary to be cut by an additional €14,000 while his  Ministers will take a €10,000 cut. They’ll also find it more difficult to get around in the future because the state car fleet is being reduced by a third.The Government will cut back on travel taxes, a welcome boost for tourism. However we will get water charges, and a property tax eventuallyOnce again Donegal people will bear the brunt of the cuts in a county with already higher than average unemployment.Finance Minister Brian Lenihan delivered his bruising budget – the most painful for many years to claims that he had showed no imagination and had made no plans to create jobs. In one of his first speeches in the Dail, Sinn Fein’s new Deputy, Gaoth Dobhair’s Pearse Doherty attacked the Minister for Finance for once again atatcking the less well-off including the unemployed and the poor.In a thumping speech which left Tanaiste Mary Coughlan visibly shaken, Doherty said this budget was the deathknell for the Government.And he vowed he will do all in his power to make sure that Fianna Fail get booted out of office in the New Year.EndsBUDGET FROM HELL: DONEGAL IS HAMMERED IN CUTBACKS was last modified: December 7th, 2010 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Judge dismisses case over fall in Letterkenny nightclub

first_imgA High Court judge has dismissed an action against a Letterkenny nightclub after a woman claimed she had slipped on a tiled area of the premises which had been wet with spillages.The plaintiff, Grace Brown from Castlederg, suffered a double fracture to her leg following the accident three years ago at the Pulse nightclub. Mr Justice Senan Allen heard that the accident had occurred at 2.53.a.m. on the date in question and the plaintiff had undergone three separate operations on her leg.“She felt her foot slipping from under her,” Richard Lyons, S.C. for the plaintiff, stated, adding that there had been a “number of spillages” on the floor area where she had fallen. “She clearly had fallen on a wet floor,” he said in opening the case.In her evidence to the court, the plaintiff, Grace Brown, who was working as a care assistant at a nursing home in Castlederg, recalled October 23rd, 2016, when she was among a party of thirty who arrived by bus for the 30th birthday celebration of her sister at the Pulse night club in Letterkenny.They had pre-booked the V.I.P. area in the premises where another party, she believed, was also in progress.She had been standing in the bar area “chatting and laughing” and was hugging another party-goer when she felt her foot slip from under her and they both ended up on the floor. Part of the floor area was carpeted while the area in the vicinity of the bar was tiled.“I was screaming out in agony,” plaintiff declared. “I remember lying there for a long time and people shouting for an ambulance.”Eventually, she had been carried over to the seating area by family and friends. Nobody from the nightclub staff had come near her, Ms Brown insisted.When the ambulance arrived within the hour, the plaintiff had been helped on to the stretcher and taken to Letterkenny Hospital. She had undergone surgery the following day after suffering a double fracture to her ankle.She had been forced to take time off work and told the court she still felt sore after a twelve-hour shift. She had also been left with a “big scar” which impacted on what she wore.“In my career, it has set me back a lot,” she indicated.Under cross-examination from senior counsel, Noel McCarthy, the plaintiff claimed that the two barmen on duty in the area and the bouncer had all declined to help her following her fall.Defence counsel stated that she had told the ambulance men that she had “stumbled” and gone over on her ankle.She had not initially informed anyone that her clothes were soaking as a result of what she had claimed was the floor being wet.CCTV footage was shown to the court where the plaintiff was seen hugging one of the women at the party before the two of them fell to the floor.Mr McCarthy pointed out that the owner of the premises, Mark Crossan, had been on the scene “almost within a minute” of the accident occurring.Plaintiff, however, insisted that he had refused to get an ambulance and had done nothing to help her.Asked if she had stated that she had slipped in the hope of getting some compensation, Ms Brown said: “No.”Plaintiff was also asked why she had indicated in a statement that the accident had occurred at 12.20.a.m. when it had happened over two hours later at 2.53.a.m.The plaintiff’s sister, Sinead Lynch said she had turned and saw that Grace had fallen to the floor. “She was in agony, she was in so much pain.”Witness had got the feeling that the staff just wanted them out of the premises after the accident. Asked if any member of the staff had engaged in a conversation with her, she replied that nobody had.Also giving evidence, Stacy Neeson, who had also attended the party, said she could not recall any member of staff cleaning up in the area during the night.Kieran Gallagher, chartered engineer, said he had viewed the CCTV footage and there had been no evidence of anyone cleaning up with a mop or a blue paper.“There is evidence of drink being spilled,” he stated.People could be seen in the dancing area of the VIP lounge holding drinks and spilling them.Relating to the plaintiff’s fall, Mr Gallagher said there had been a “sudden movement” and her right foot had slipped prior to her falling.The court heard that the premises had an accident prevention procedure document which indicated that the floor would be dried with blue paper every twenty minutes.Pressed by defence counsel, the witness conceded that the CCTV footage did not include anyone pointing to liquid on the floor. He also agreed that the plaintiff had never said that her clothes were wet after the fall.But stated Mr Gallagher: “I believe she slipped and fell. I don’t believe she stumbled.”In his evidence, Mark Crossan, owner of the Pulse nightclub, said there had been 601 people in the premises on the night which was quiet for a Saturday. Between the two parties, there were approximately fifty in the VIP area.Confirming that he was on duty on the night, he said he was normally in the camera room where there was a bank of ten screens. They operated sixty cameras in total in the premises.It was while in the camera room that he became aware of the accident in the VIP area and he had made his way there. He had checked the tiled area and the shoes the plaintiff had been wearing. The floor area had been dry, he reported.“I always check the floor,” said Mr Crossan who added that he was very conscious of claims.He had called the ambulance on the night at approximately 3.20.a.m. and it had arrived close to 4.a.m.Nobody in the party group had made a complaint to him, he stated.Cross-examined by Miriam Reilly, S.C., who said the CCTV footage didn’t show him checking the floor for spillages, defendant said he would have “run my eye over it.”When pointed out to him that there had been no evidence of any member of staff checking the floor, Mr Crossan said if they had observed a spillage they would have cleaned it up.‘The system had completely fallen down that night,” it was suggested to him.“I don’t agree,” said defendant. “I’m happy enough with the system. We’re a long time in business,” he added.Further evidence was given on behalf of the defence by engineer, John Mooney who said he had carried out a slip test on the floor in both a wet and dry situation and it had been satisfactory.Stating that he had viewed the CCTV footage, the witness said he could not agree that the plaintiff’s right foot had slipped. “The other person appeared to stumble,” he argued.He told Mr Lyons, representing the plaintiff, that if somebody had been off-balance the floor surface would not have made a difference.Dismissing the case against the nightclub’s owner, Mr Justice Allen said there had been no requests made by the birthday party guests in relation to drying the area of the floor where spillages were said to have occurred and nobody had pointed to the floor after the accident.Critically, the case rested, he said, “almost exclusively” on the video footage which showed Ms Brown hugging another woman in the bar area. Plaintiff had been attempting to steady herself against the bar after being caught off balance when the two women fell onto the floor.“I’m not satisfied that she slipped,” Mr Justice Allen indicated.The nightclub’s protocol for drying the floor did not appear to have been adhered to but it had not been relevant in relation to the accident and Ms Brown had fallen on the carpeted area.He subsequently dismissed the action.Judge dismisses case over fall in Letterkenny nightclub was last modified: November 17th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:courtdonegalfallMark CrossanPulsesliplast_img read more

Inside Jacob Evans’ quest to improve his shooting

first_imgOAKLAND – The ball floated seemingly forever in the air. Warriors rookie Jacob Evans tried to swat it. Instead, the usual scenario happened anytime Stephen Curry shoots the ball. It dropped into the basket.Evans turned to second-year forward Jordan Bell, and the two young players shook their head. Meanwhile, Curry ran back on defense offering both a hearty laugh and a wide smile.“He does that to everybody,” Evans said about Curry’s shot during a scrimmage this week in training camp.Soon …last_img read more

Houston Astros claim series over Oakland Athletics behind Verlander gem

first_imgThe A’s fell to the Houston Astros, 4-2, on Wednesday afternoon in Houston.With the loss, the A’s record against the Astros fell to 2-9 so far this season. There would be no comeback in this game after the A’s fell behind on a third-inning home run by George Springer.Justin Verlander entered the game with a 0.84 WHIP, the best in baseball, and put a visual to the numbers. He held the A’s to two hits and one unearned run, all from a mini A’s rally in the first inning generated on a pair of …last_img read more

Press release: Brand South Africa partners with the South African Hockey Association to host the Hockey World League Semi Finals 2017

first_imgSouth Africa is the proud host, and participant, in the men’s and women’s legs of the Hockey World League.Brand South Africa partners with the South African Hockey Association (SAHA) in hosting the Hockey World League Semi Finals 2017 Event, taking place in Johannesburg till 23 July. (Image: SA Women’s Hockey, Twitter)Johannesburg, Tuesday 11 July 2017 – “Sport in South Africa is a word of joy, celebration, grandeur and overall a remarkable event that nurtures a sense of national identity” said Brand South Africa’s CEO Dr Kingsley Makhubela on Brand South Africa’s partnership with the South African Hockey Association (SAHA) in hosting the Hockey World League Semi Finals 2017 Event.South Africa was selected by the Federation of International Hockey (FIH) to host both the men’s and women’s legs of the Hockey World League Semi-Finals, accommodating ten of the world’s best men’s team and best female teams, currently competing at the WITS Hockey Stadium from 08 to 23 July 2017.Charged with managing the reputation of the country as well as co-ordinating efforts that position South Africa as an investment destination of choice, Brand South Africa is simultaneously charged with working with the larger collective to build pride and patriotism amongst citizens of the country. This is where sports comes in.Dr Makhubela said: “We can all attest to the fact that nation building through sport, in a multi-racial society such as South Africa is a key component that remains a constant – because sports breaks down barriers and is a common factor among all, no matter what race, creed or religion. Sport plays an important role in promoting wellness and social cohesion, and treats sport as a cross-cutting issue, with related proposals in the chapters on education, health and nation building.”South Africa’s nation-building projects – such as sports and recreation initiatives, were and still continue to be premised on the formulation of a common identity, while recognising and respecting diverse ethnic, racial and other groupings. This is captured in the National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP) – which states that ‘when building an active nation, it is clear that no country can expect to achieve and sustain success at the elite level without a strong participation base in the community, because that is where every champion has their beginning.’Marissa Langeni, the CEO of the South African Hockey Association said “Hockey is a sport largely driven by volunteers and enthusiasts. These are the real heroes of the hockey community and it is because of these thousands of people that we identify so strongly with Brand South Africa and their “Play Your Part’ Initiative.”“As part of this support for Brand South Africa and the “Play Your part” initiative, the SA Men’s Hockey Team have been formally announced as ambassadors for this initiative, a role we take very seriously and identify with strongly,” said Tim Drummond, national captain of the SA Men’s hockey team. “The #SAHockeyRevolution is all about a fresh approach to the game of hockey in South Africa, in essence’ inspiring new ways’.”“International best practices undeniably demonstrates that successful sporting nations do not just derive their success from the air. Meaningful investments are required from early age for enhanced effective participation in sport, which is why we as Brand South Africa saw this as a unique opportunity for nation building. However, it is evident that this quest can only be achieved if there is commitment by both the public and private sector,” concluded Makhubela.“Hosting this Hockey World League 2017 event in Johannesburg is a major part of our #SAHockeyRevolution strategy which is aimed at delivering world class hockey to the South African public and inspiring young players by giving them access to the very best players in the world. In addition, we are developing a high performance programme that will allow our elite men’s and women’s teams the opportunity to prepare and compete on the biggest stages the sport has to offer,” said Langeni.South Africa has successfully hosted a number of key international sporting events, such as the Rugby World Cup in 1995, the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in 1996, the 2003 Cricket World Cup and the FIFA World Cup in 2010, the 2013 Afcon and the 2014 CHAN tournaments. South Africa has become a country of choice for international, club and schools hockey teams to tour and prepare for major global competitions.Join the conversation at:@Brand_SA @PlayYourPartSA@SA_Hockey@FIH_Hockey#SAHockeyRevolution#HWL2017For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:Tsabeng NthiteTel: +27 11 712 5061Mobile: +27 (0) 76 371 6810Email: tsabengn@brandsouthafrica.comlast_img read more

New colony for African penguin on the cards

first_imgThe population of African penguins has dwindled drastically over the past three decades, mostly as a result of human activity. Now humans are stepping in to try to save them from extinction. BirdLife South Africa plans to build a new colony for the animals. African penguins are an endangered species and its quickly heading towards extinction. To prevent them from dying out, BirdLife South Africa is looking to build a new colony that will allow them to breed while being safe from harm. BirdLife is looking to the public for aid to establish the colony. Pictured here is an injured penguin. (Image: Grant Peters, Flickr) Shamin ChibbaIn 2001, there were 56 000 pairs of African penguins in South Africa. By 2014, there were just 19 000 pairs. This drastic decline has prompted BirdLife South Africa to try something it has never done before to prevent the penguin from going extinct.Led by Christina Hagen, the Pamela Isdell Fellow of Penguin Conservation at BirdLife South Africa, the organisation wants to establish a new African penguin colony that will help to increase its numbers.The challenge to save the African penguin from extinction is proving to be massive, according to BirdLife South Africa chief executive Mark Anderson. “The penguins need all the help they can get. Establishing new mainland colonies are immensely important management interventions.”If you want to keep the African penguin a part of South Africa’s heritage, donate to the project at Experiment.com.Two major populations of the birds remain, made up of numerous colonies in Western Cape between West Coast National Park and Gansbaai, and of colonies in Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape. The problem for conservationists is the 600km gap between the two populations.Hagen said penguins bred more successfully on islands, where there were no terrestrial predators. But because there was no island between Gansbaai and Port Elizabeth, the gap remained. It was for this reason the new colony would have to be built on the mainland. WATCH: BirdLife South Africa looking to establish a new African penguin colonyBirdLife South Africa was still assessing suitable areas to establish the colony. For now, the choice was between De Hoop in Overberg and Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route, she said.The choice of location will be based on whether there is an abundance of sardines and anchovies in the area; the fish are the penguins’ two main sources of food. “Our overriding concern is that they should be in a location where there are enough sardines and anchovies in the sea,” said Hagen. “The Western Cape sardine stock is shifting eastwards which is why we are looking in those areas.”Besides having enough fish to feed on, there are numerous other factors that determine the perfect location for penguins. Hagen said the land had to be good enough for penguins to burrow and make a nest, the area must make it easy to protect the birds from predators such as caracals, leopards and mongooses, and it should not be too close to sources of pollution such as oil.BirdLife South Africa wants to relocate specific birds to the new colony. “We’ll be using young birds that have fledged and are ready to go to sea but haven’t bred yet,” said Hagen.It will also relocate chicks that have been abandoned. The area will be monitored remotely and be fenced so that predators and people cannot interfere with the birds. Two African penguin populations currently exist in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape. BirdLife South Africa is looking to establish a colony between the two colonies.(Image: BirdLife South Africa)Effects of human activityIn 2010, the African penguin was listed as endangered by BirdLife International, meaning that it had decreased by over 50% in three penguin generations, or approximately 30 years. The decline is expected to continue.The drop in population is largely driven by human activity, according to BirdLife. “First egg-collecting and guano-scraping caused enormous losses. Then overfishing in the 1960s continued to cause decreases.”The biggest concern is a lack of food. Penguins eat mainly sardines and anchovies, which are also the target of the commercial purse seine fishing industry. A purse seine is a large wall of netting that encircles an entire area or school of fish. On average, large purse seine vessels can catch up to 20 tons of fish a day, says the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, with some vessels able to haul more.Today, some penguin colonies have been so drastically reduced that they are now vulnerable to minor events, such as seals preying on adults, gulls taking eggs, or extreme weather causing breeding failure.The project will also help BirdLife South Africa figure out techniques to build future colonies for penguins and other bird species. It will additionally help penguin populations spread across the western and southern coast of South Africa. African penguins prey on sardines and anchovies, but the number of fish available to the birds are dwindling due to their shift eastward and over fishing. This particular penguin was spotted at Boulders Beach near Cape Town.  (Image: Nick Perretti, Flickr)More can be doneHagen said there were continuing attempts to stop the decline but BirdLife South Africa felt more needed to be done. These included attempts to increase recruitment by maintaining and improving nesting habitat, and captive rearing and releasing of orphaned wild chicks.Attempts to decrease mortality include eradicating invasive predators, reducing predation by natural predators around colonies such as seals, rehabilitation and release of oiled and injured penguins, disease control, and changing fishing patterns.Building a new colony is the most drastic step taken so far. “Trying to create a colony is a big step and it hasn’t been done before so people are a bit hesitant to try it,” said Hagen. “But we are working with a number of organisations, including the Nature’s Valley Trust and the African Penguin Population Reinforcement Working Group to help make it happen.”WATCH: AZA SAFE short documentary on the African penguinSardines and anchovies migratingAfrican penguins were a good indicator species for the health of the ecosystem, she added. Their falling numbers meant changes were taking place in the sea.Since the mid-1990s, sardines and anchovies have been moving east to the Agulhas area and the south coast, making it difficult for the birds to reach their prey. “Breeding penguins can’t travel far from their colony to find food as they have to return to feed their chicks. So they can’t go further than 20 or 30 kilometres from their breeding ground.”Hagen believes climate change has forced sardines and anchovies to move. “The change in temperature is thought to have shifted the fish because other species have also shifted.”Additionally, high pressure from fishing on the west coast could have played a role in the fish moving east.Despite the shift, BirdLife South Africa said the two colonies on the south coast, which supposedly should have benefited, had continued to dwindle.Fun facts about the African penguinHeight: approximately 60cm tallWeight: between 2.4 and 3.6 kgsLifespan: about 10 yearsHabitat: Within 40km of the coast, preferring rocky offshore islandsBreeding: Usually breeds for the first time between 4 and 6 years of ageBreeding season: Between March and May in South Africa and November and December in NamibiaMoulting: Between 13 and 40 days. Occurs between November and January in South Africa and April and May in NamibiaChicks: Once hatched, the parents will take it in turns to guard and feed the chicks until they are about 30 days old. Thereafter chicks are left alone in crèches. When they are between 60-130 days old they develop juvenile plumage and are able to venture into the ocean and leave the colony.Each African Penguin has a different pattern of black spots on its white chest and belly, which observers use to identify individual animals.They were previously called Jackass Penguins, due to their call that sounded like the braying of a donkey. The name was changed to African Penguin due to other species of penguin making similar sounds, and in addition to that, S. demersus is the only species of penguin on the African continent.Predators looking down from above struggle to see their black backs against the dark ocean. Predators looking up from the water struggle to see their white bellies against the sky – therefore these animals are almost perfectly camouflaged from predators while swimming.Their name Spheniscus demersus is derived from the Greek word spen, meaning wedge, as a reflection of their shape when swimming. Demersus is a Latin word, meaning plunging.The pink markings above their eyes are glands. When the penguin gets hot, more blood rushes to the glands to be cooled down.– Penguin facts courtesy of BirdLife South Africa.last_img read more