The Deep News - November 2018

Banner MOVING FORWARD FOR PENGUINS IN PERPETUITY

MOVING FORWARD FOR PENGUINS IN PERPETUITY

12th November 2018

Since the initial funding from The Deep, The IUCN Penguin Specialist Group have made headway in developing the Global Penguin Conservation Strategy, identifying the key areas for research, conservation and species priorities.

Of the 18 species of penguin across the globe, it was determined, through the examination of population trends and geographical range, that the species in most need of conservation action are the Yellow-eyed penguins, African penguins and the Galapagos penguins.

In addition to the focal species, twelve research and conservation needs were identified to improve the long term survival of penguins into the future. These included; enhanced marine spatial planning, the development of species-specific conservation action plans and continuing public outreach and education. The global impact of micro-plastics on penguins was also raised as a research priority.

The next phase will be to develop a manuscript that summarizes the research, conservation and species priorities outlined and to prepare and coordinate presentations and species evaluations in preparation for the 10th International Penguin Congress in Dunedin, New Zealand during August 24-29 2019.

In 2014, The Deep launched Project Penguin, a campaign to help raise awareness and fund crucial conservation efforts for the world’s penguin populations. Since its inception, we have supported and funded the continued research of the Galapagos Conservation Trust into the decline of the Galapagos penguin, which informs the management strategies on the islands.

We have also supported colleagues at Bristol Zoo in their efforts to bolster African Penguin populations in South Africa. Donated funds allowed urgent care to be administered to rescued and abandoned penguin chicks at The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB). Since opening in 2006, SANCCOB has released over 4,000 penguins back into the wild.

The money donated has been raised by The Deep’s generous customers, dropping loose change into a number of ‘money spinners’ within building. Working on a global scale, supported by governments and local communities the development of this crucial document will identify the global priorities and resources required to stabilise penguin populations into the future.

Banner AN EGG-CEPTIONAL YEAR FOR SHARK EGG HUNTS

AN EGG-CEPTIONAL YEAR FOR SHARK EGG HUNTS

2nd November 2018

Thank you to everyone who has helped out with our egg case hunts in 2018, braving winter weather, rain and storms galore. Over 157 amazing volunteers (adults and children) joined us across our 4 events and found a whopping 693 egg cases!

This year has seen the most amount of egg cases discovered! During our June event at Spurn Point, 562 egg cases were collected in just 2 hours. However with storms battering our coast earlier in the year, such as the devastation caused from ‘The Beast from the East’, it is likely that these stronger tides have increased the number of egg cases being washed ashore.

The volume recorded clearly demonstrates that, without a doubt, we have a healthy population of sharks living off our coastline.

In comparison to the rest of the country, the Yorkshire coastline is dramatically under documented, but thanks to the efforts of our volunteers and by driving more awareness of our native sharks and rays, we are seeing a considerable turnaround.

Across the globe there are over 600 species of skate and ray; 16 of these have been regularly recorded in UK coastal waters. They reproduce by laying tough leathery egg cases, each of which contains a single embryo. After a number of months incubating on the seabed, anchored to rocks or seaweeds, a fully formed pup emerges. Of the 30 species of shark that frequent our shores, only three of these produce egg cases; the Smallspotted catshark, the Nursehound and the Blackmouth shark. Once hatched, these empty egg cases wash ashore in the changing tides, offering a valuable and easily accessible source of information.

Cat Gordon, Conservation Officer at The Shark Trust said: "The Great Eggcase Hunt has logged over 200,000 mermaid’s purses since the project began in 2003. If you take a look at the results maps on the Shark Trust Website you’ll see that the majority of the UK coastline has been well represented thanks to eagle-eyed citizen scientists. These records give us a good indication of the broad distribution of egg laying sharks and skates.

“We typically get more egg cases submitted from the west coast than from the east. However sticking out into the North Sea at the mouth of the Humber Estuary, Spurn Point seems to offer a good egg case hunting spot. Smallspotted Catshark egg cases are the most likely find along with Spotted Rays and Thornback Rays, but the occasional Starry Skate egg case can also be seen. We’ve had over 1000 egg cases recorded from here this year, with half of these found during The Deep/Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s dedicated events. While the Great Eggcase Hunt documents ad hoc finds, if beaches can be surveyed regularly then each year we can compare results and see how numbers fluctuate."

Information collected from all our events, run in conjunction with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, has now been submitted to The Shark Trust to contribute to UK shark conservation efforts, so a big thank you to everyone who helped.

With more events planned for 2019, there are lots more opportunities to become citizen scientists. Watch our website for more details.

To find out more about how to submit your own egg case finds, visit The Shark Trust Great Eggcase Hunt.

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