Sustainable Research


Predominantly self-funded by our core business and the ORCA Foundation Volunteer Program, we have initiated several focus projects affecting local marine conservation. Our intention is to continue to make our findings available to management authorities to assist in related decision-making processes. We further this mission by hosting various education initiatives aimed at increasing awareness about our fragile marine ecosystem in the community, with a particular focus on the youth. The ORCA Foundation collaborates with other organisations and institutions to increase the collection, sharing and dissemination of data.


Cliff-Top Monitoring of Seals, Sharks, Whales and Dolphins in the Robberg Peninsula Marine Protected Area

Regular Observation Sessions are conducted at designated monitoring sites overlooking the Robberg Peninsula Marine Protected Area.  We monitor the presence and behaviour of seals, sharks, and cetaceans, along with that of recreational fishermen and tourism vessels.  With the recent seasonal increase in the presence of great white sharks around the seal colony, we are particularly interested in recording interactions between the two species.  Data will also be used to illustrate the importance of Marine Protected Areas, both to marine life and the tourism industry.

Opportunistic Boat-Based Surveys with Ocean Blue Adventures

A favourite activity among our ORCA Foundation volunteers is the chance to join Ocean Blue boat trips to collect opportunistic data related to sightings in the course of the trip.  This includes photographing fin profiles of any whales, dolphins, and sharks seen, along with recording any injuries or entanglements of seals at the colony.  Vagrant species and other incidents relevant to the conservation management of the bay are also recorded.  All the information collected is used in collaborative research and added to citizen science projects, to assist in gaining a better overview of the bay’s ecology and the management thereof.

Marine Mammal Stranding Response and Necropsy

In the unfortunate event of the stranding of any deceased marine mammals, members of the ORCA team are qualified to assist in the collection of samples for research. These are transported to the Port Elizabeth Museum for analysis and use in various studies. On occasion, we will also assist with live strandings of seals, which are individually assessed and treated before being released. As members of the local Marine Stranding Network, we are also on hand to assist on the rare occasions that live whales or dolphins strand in our area of operation.

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