The Jan Juc coastline is now a safer place for marine wildlife thanks to students from Torquay college. Read more
Torquay College was one of four Victorian schools to learn about the threats local marine wildlife face as part of Zoos Victoria’s Seal the Loop Action Day, held Friday November 7.
Zoos Victoria experts used fun play-based activities to educate and entertain students from Torquay College, Warrnambool East Primary School, Rye Primary School, and Melbourne Girls College.
A Zoos Victoria spokesperson said the Action Day is an opportunity for the next generation of extinction fighters to become activists on behalf of marine wildlife.
“It is a great way to encourage a simple action which has real benefits to wildlife.
“Connecting students to these issues from an early age helps to broaden their understanding of the importance of the environment and its precious wildlife.”
Students wore blue to show their support on the day, which ended with a beach clean-up – an action which directly benefits local wildlife.
Zoos Victoria sees over 150,000 school students every year, spreading the message about wildlife protection.
The Zoos Victoria Spokesperson said Seal the Loop Action Day is an opportunity to engage school aged students about the Seal the Loop campaign and its importance in our local community.
“Zoos Victoria’s Seal the Loop campaign encourages the responsible disposal of fishing line and fishing waste through the use of specifically designed bins installed in popular fishing areas across Victoria.
“Every year, it is estimated fishing line entanglements result in the death of 1,400 seals.
“Zoos Victoria cannot fight the extinction of threatened species without the support of students.”
To find out how you or your local school can become involved in the Seal the Loop campaign, click here.
‘Seal the Loop’ bins are to be installed at Moggs Creek and Eastern View fishing locations to encourage proper disposal of fishing waste and reduce threats to marine life.
Zoo’s Victoria, in partnership with Melbourne Zoo Community, have donated three Seal the Loop bins to the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) after the popular fishing spots were identified as litter hot spots.
Conservation Officer Danielle Knox said incorrectly discarded fishing waste can be mistaken as food and ingested by wildlife which can be passed on to their young and result in injury or death.
“30 species of marine animals including seabirds, turtles, whales, dolphins and sharks are listed as ‘at risk’ of injury and fatality caused by ingestion of, or entanglement in, harmful marine debris,” she said.
Seal the Loop bins are already installed in Lorne, Torquay and Anglesea and research shows the bins are helping in the fight to reduce marine wildlife entanglement rates.
According to Zoo’s Victoria, a 2013 study revealed that 56% of coast users who came across a Seal the Loop bin changed their waste disposal behaviour as a result.
GORCC Outdoor Works Supervisor Phil Brown said litter was an ongoing issue on the coast.
“The litter ends up back in the ocean where it can harm both marine life and beachgoers,” he said.
While GORCC staff undertake regular beach clean ups, litter remains a problem, particularly in more popular fishing areas.
“The new bin locations have been chosen based on popular fishing spots where litter has been identified as an issue,” Mr. Brown said.
Ms Knox urged community members and local anglers to take care when disposing of fishing waste.
“If there is not a Seal the Loop bin in your area, you can ask your local council to sign up for a bin which are offered free of charge to any organisation, council or group who agree to install and maintain them,” she said.
If you notice any injured or distressed marine wildlife, please call the AGL Marine Response Unit team on 0447 158 676.
For further information regarding Seal the Loop bins, including a bin registration form visit http://www.zoo.org.au/sealtheloop.
If you would like to become involved in the 2014 Seal the Loop Action Day to be held November 14, email Danielle Knox at firstname.lastname@example.org and keep up to date by searching #sealtheloop on Twitter @zoosvictoria.
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