A Cape fur seal entangled in a fishing line rests on the shore in Walvis Bay, Namibia, Dec. 4, 2020. (Ocean Conservation Namibia/Handout via Xinhua)
Ocean Conservation Namibia, a private initiative that rescues seals from entanglement caused by ocean litter and plastic pollution, is raising awareness for marine animal protection through social media platforms.
SWAKOPMUND, Namibia, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) — In aquatic ecosystems, there is a diversity and variety of wild animals. However, in recent times, the use of plastic bags has caused a hazard to wildlife, creating a concern regarding the safety of marine animals.
“Much of what is going to be wasted can actually be recycled. There needs to be tougher penalties for people caught littering plastic/garbage, and there needs to be much tougher penalties for littering. fishing industry when they are caught throwing fishing gear,” said Naude Dreyer. , the co-founder of Oceans Conservation Namibia.
Ocean Conservation Namibia (OCN) is a private initiative launched in 2020 comprising a team of seven volunteers. Their goal is to save seals from entanglement caused by marine litter and plastic pollution, especially abandoned fishing lines and ghost nets.
The team’s daily duties range from rescue patrols, administration, social media management, fundraising, correspondence, maintenance and outreach.
OCN has various social media channels, including a YouTube channel with nearly 900,000 subscribers and a TikTok account with over 1.3 million subscribers.
The videos they share on their online platforms have raised awareness to change mindsets about the danger of plastics to aquatic animals, Naude Dreyer told Xinhua. “People watch our rescue videos online and get a better idea of the potential impacts of plastic pollution on ocean life.”
“We think this has been quite effective. We receive daily emails, comments and correspondence from people around the world telling us how watching our videos has led them to change their behavior in the way they deal with plastics “, did he declare. “Also locally, we now have regular contact with the fishing industry – they phone us whenever they see animals in trouble.”
A seal entangled in a discarded fishing net is removed by Ocean Conservation Namibia (OCN) co-founder Naude Dreyer in Walvis Bay, Namibia, June 26, 2022. (OCN/Handout via Xinhua)
Since 2020, when the initiative was founded, they have rescued around 2,800 Cape fur seals and collected 458 seal snoek lines and thousands of plastic bags.
Although they are not aggressive animals, Dreyer said seals often become aggressive in self-defense when confronted because of their strong jaws and sharp teeth.
“The biggest risk is getting bitten by a seal. All our team members have been bitten a few times but luckily never too seriously,” he said.
“We have a big BiliBili channel, so a lot of people in China can watch our videos, and we hope seeing them will help them change their plastic behavior,” he said.
“We are trying to get the plastic pollution awareness message out to as many people as possible. Bilibili is the best way for us to reach a Chinese audience,” he added. ■