Sunday, October 17, 2010

Whale Shark Awareness Poster Challenge

As a part of our on-going turtle conservation programme funded by the Mangroves For the Future initiative, we recently ran a survey about peoples perceptions and knowledge regarding Seychelles turtles. The results were very interesting and one output was a targeted awareness aimed at school children.

The exhibit drew a lot of interest

As whale shark programme team leader Abi March is both a designer and school teacher, we asked if she would lend a hand to Devis Monthy and Georgia French our MCSS staff tackled with implementing the task. Abi was more than happy to assist (provided she could piggy-back some whale shark awareness into the project) and she came up with the idea of a short turn around ‘Poster Challenge’ for four schools…. Who could come up with the best awareness posters in just one week!
The turtle awareness board with some of the poster entries

Well this Saturday the kids got to show off what they had achieved and the team put together an exhibition at the National Library of the children’s entries as well as information about the MCSS turtle and whale shark programmes.

We also had a board show-casing the photography of Joe Daniels, his first national exhibition… good work Joe!

The exhibition drew a good crowd of visitors from the schools, with their parents and teachers as well as some coverage from the National Press. But more importantly, the posters were brilliant!!! As part of the prize, the winning entry from each school was to be turned into a T shirt design and all compiled as a set of postcards… Abi had worked on the winning entries and had a first transfer print of the T shirts made to give the prize winners and the orders are already flooding in and who would be surprised when you look at the winners:

First prize - International School Seychelles: Sam Benoiton

First prize - Anse Royale Secondary School: Dominic Rene

Do visit our turtle blog for images of the turtle oriented posters!

The full list of winners was:

1st Place
Sam Benoiton - International School Seychelles
Kimberley Marie - Takamaka Primary School
Dominic Rene - Anse Royale Secondary School
Aniella Cherry - Beau Vallon Primary School

2nd Place
Wayne Amelie - International School Seychelles
Karlos Bouzin - Takamaka Primary School
Estelle Lepathy - Anse Royale Secondary School
Audrey Matombe - Beau Vallon Primary School

We will let you all know when the designs are available in their final form… could be a great Christmas present!

Our congratulations to all the entrants and to the team for all their hard work!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Week 8 started slow but ended with a bang...

Wednesday 13th of October our two Whale Shark Research boats headed South from Anse La Mouche full of eager clients excited about the afternoon ahead.

Our first Shark of the day was a 4.5m male, a new Shark for this season and the second time we have had encounters with him. After that things got quiet....very quiet....

Whilst we were waiting our other boat (Blue Boat) had a pod of 20-30 Melon Headed Whales, they played around leaping out of the water and porposing as close as 2m away from the boat! An hour passed by with no sightings of any Whale Sharks when a call came over the radio from our very relieved pilot, Neil, that there were 7 Whale Sharks at the Southern end of Grand Anse beach.

When we got there the Sharks were in 10m of water and barely moving, we were joined by the guys from Save Our Seas in their RIB so there were 3 boats in the area. The two MCSS boats had both their groups in, all on different Sharks and the Save Our Seas guys also had their own Shark. Some of us were even lucky enough to have two Sharks together!

This was another very special day here in the Seychelles. After processing the ID shots we retrieved, through I3S we had 3 Sharks from 2010, 2 from 2005, 1 from 2007, 1from 2008 and one from 2009. In this aggregation of Whale Sharks was ‘Yogi’ one of Abi’s favourite Sharks who has been returning to the Seychelles each year since 2005!

A great ending to the week!

Post and photos contributed by Joe Daniels

Monday, October 4, 2010

Does Anyone Recognise this Shark?

This season is definitely being unusual in terms of the number of 'new' sharks we are finding and the weekend turned up another new shark but with what looks like a tag tether attached to its left flank.

This juvenile male shark was found swimming of North West Mahe in an area with several other sharks when the tag attachment was noted....

As this was a new shark to Seychelles the chances are that this shark had been tagged in one of the other Indian ocean regional monitoring programmes...

If any of the monitoring groups recognise this shark please contact us so we can share the information with you!