Weekend Review: Whale fest fun, deepest underwater cave pics and CITES CoP17 wrap

2016-10-02 20:46 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - Rocktober is here and if you've taken some time out over the weekend, here are five stories you might have missed but need to check out.

CITES Cop17 wraps up this week

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Conference of Parties (CoP17) is underway in Johannesburg until Wednesday 5 October - with conservationists questioning the relevance of the issues at stake in wildlife conservation sphere. 

In case you missed it Traveller24 held a #ShockWildlifeTruths twitter discussion on the wildlife issues - see the three key outcomes of the debate here. SEE: CITES CoP17: 3 Key concerns from conservationists in SA #ShockWildlifeTruths

Issues still expected to be discussed include the status of the Lion being moved to CITES I, which would recognise its gravely endangered wildlife status. 

Prolific advocates for the banning of canned lion hunting, Blood Lions says, "As the CITES sessions move into the final week, some of the biggest proposals still have to be voted on. While trade in rhino horn and ivory are hugely significant, for the Blood Lions team the outcome for lions is the one we are most interested in.

"Word from the corridors of the convention centre has it that there will be some conservation gains with regards to wild lions, but the fate of South Africa’s thousands of captive lions will be thrown to the lion bone traders. Given the resolutions taken against captive breeding at the recently held IUCN conference in Hawaii as well as current positions against tiger farming, it would be a shameful vote if the CITES delegates ignore these positions.

Within wildlife trade circles, lions are fast becoming the ‘new tigers’ and to allow a continuation of trade in bones and other body parts would be a vote to increase the poaching pressure on wild lion populations." 

SEE: #ShockWildlifeTruths: Call to end SA's canned lion hunting industry accepted at IUCN

Wild whale weekend in Hermanus

This weekend Hermanus came to life for the annual October whale festival. Family friendly activities, scrumptious seafood and loads of fresh sea air, along with the jubilantly splashing tails of southern rights were the order of the day. Take a look at why the old harbour area in Hermanus is said to be one of the best land-based whale watching spot in the world.

The World's deepest underwater cave discovered and it seems bottomless...

Polish explorer Krzysztof Starnawski and his team recently revealed to be the world's deepest known flooded cave. A cross-section of the flooded Hranicka Propast, or Hranice Abyss, in the Czech Republic shows the record depths of the cave.  A remotely-operated underwater robot, or ROV, to search for the cave's bottom. It went to the record depth of 404 meters (1 325 feet) but still has not found the bottom, during the 'Hranicka Propast. The step beyond 400m' expedition led by Starnawski and partly funded by the National Geographic.

(Krzysztof Starnawski Expedition via AP) - click here to read the full report

It's that time of year when you may be in need of a little recharge before the big crunch towards the festive season. This weekend's newsletter covered the Overberg's well-known beach holidays such as Hermanus, Struisbaai and L'Agulhas. 

And yet there happens to be so much more to this region of South Africa - for instance these 7 Secret beaches. Also be honest - have you ever heard of Baardskeerdersbos, or Baardies, as the locals like to call it? Read more about this rather arty and secluded Overberg dorpie here

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