Unique TV projects on SA island

2009-11-16 00:00

MARION Island, a new series on SABC2, offers viewers the chance to see two unique, science-based television projects on the island in the southern Indian Ocean.

Covering about 290km² and with 72 km of mostly cliff-face coastline, Marion Island is volcanic in origin and, politically, forms part of the Western Cape province.

Wildlife on the island includes king, rock hopper, macaroni and gentoo penguins, skuas, giant petrels, southern elephant seals, Antarctic fur seals, whales and dolphins, king cormorants, and sooty and wandering albatrosses.

South Africa plays a hugely under-publicised role in the southern Indian Ocean with the SA National Antarctic Project (Sanap). The Marion Island project aims to make ordinary South Africans aware of that contribution.

Nine South Africans, including scientists and engineers currently on the island as part of Sanap, have agreed to participate in the project. Under the guidance of a team leader, a presenter and the crew will follow their working days, capture their activities on camera and bring science into action on the screen every week.

Created in collaboration with the Environmental Affairs and Education departments, Marion Island is being broadcast in two parts — part one on SABC2 on Mondays at 5 pm and part two on Fridays at 11 am. It is hoped that the series will help young people across South Africa engage in a dialogue, via satellite, with the scientists on the island.

SABC Education also hopes the programme will raise awareness about global warming, explore sustainable solutions to environmental challenges, share information on career opportunities in the scientific fields and promote science as a hobby.

The presenter of Marion Island, Innocent Mthembu, hails from Kosi Bay Mouth in KZN and brings with him experience in working with South African National Parks, the Environmental Affairs Department, Tourism’s Marine and Coastal Management and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

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