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Conservation deconstructed

What does conservation mean? What does it mean to be conservation-minded, to have a conservation ethic, or to do conservation? Conservation, specifically with regards to the environment, is a word that has possibly become overused in the past years, and perhaps the meaning has become diluted. Traditionally conservation had to do with the preservation, protection, […]

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The annual southern right whale aerial survey has started!

On Tuesday 3 October, the Mammal Research Institute’s Whale Unit started their annual southern right whale aerial survey which aims to monitor the population of right whales along the South African coastline. This survey has been carried out annually since the first survey in 1979, making this year the 39th consecutive annual right whale survey […]

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Super sense of fish

Fish use their sense of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch to gain accurate and up-to-date information about the surrounding environment, which is important to make optimal decisions about possible threats, prey, as well as mates. Due to their aquatic nature fish also have an additional sense, the lateral line or lateralis system. The lateral […]

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Sensory system of fish

Accurate, up-to-date information about the surrounding environment is very important in order to make optimal decisions about possible threats, prey, as well as mates. For humans our five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch) tell us this information. Fish use the same set of senses, but differently as they are, of course, wholly submerged […]

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Cooperative feeding in cetaceans

Cooperative feeding comes about when two or more individuals effectively capture more and/or bigger prey items and suffer fewer costs together than alone. A number of mammal species, and even one bird species has been reported to undertake cooperative hunting, which could range from simultaneous chases, or clearly coordinated attacks. Coordinated attacks involve the division […]

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Vagrant seals

Vagrant seals in Plettenberg Bay

Although the Cape Fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus) is southern Africa’s only endemic pinniped species, we do get a number of vagrant pinniped species that visit our shores. In Plettenberg Bay, we see both Subantarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus tropicalis) and southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) on occasion. These species are vagrants from Antarctic and Subantarctic […]

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