Large fins, rows of teeth, sleek bodies that effortlessly swim through all of Earth’s seven seas … Sharks are amongst the most popular, revered, and mysterious creatures that call the ocean home. These predators exhibit fascinating behaviours and play critical roles in the health of ocean ecosystems. On the other hand, relatively little is known about sharks, and every day more incredible knowledge is gained, which sheds a light on the lives of these incredible animals. You are invited to learn more about sharks at the Two Oceans Aquarium on the evening of Tuesday 8 October 2019.

During the second week of October, the Two Oceans Aquarium will be hosting the fifth Southern African Shark and Ray Symposium. This symposium is designed for scientists and researchers who specialise in sharks and rays, but with content that is too good not to share, we are making it possible for you to learn more about sharks from some of the world’s best researchers and practitioners at Shark Night on Tuesday 8 October 2019.

Come and learn more about these awesome predators at one of the best venues in Cape Town! Speaking on the night will be Michael Scholl (Save our Seas Foundation), Simon Elwen (Sea Search), Monwabisi Sikweyiya (Shark Spotters) and Jannes Landschoff (Sea Change Project). Don’t miss out – seats are limited.

Event details

  • Date and time: Tuesday 8 October 2019, 18h30 for 19h00
  • Place: Two Oceans Aquarium, Dock Road, V&A Waterfront
  • Tickets: From R140 to R185 via Quicket – your ticket includes light dinner!
    • Aquarium members will enjoy a 20% discount on this event. Please email members@aquarium.co.za to get your special code. 
  • A cash bar will be available

The speakers

Michael Scholl, Save our Seas Foundation

Michael Scholl portrait by Keith Witmer. Credit: Save our Seas Foundation

Michael Scholl is the Chief Executive Officer of the Save Our Seas Foundation, which allows him to merge decades of experience in science, conservation and education and his lifelong passion for conserving sharks and the oceans. His initial field experience with sharks began in 1995 at the Bimini Biological Field Station in the Bahamas. He then spent the next decade studying the population and ecology of white sharks around Dyer Island in South Africa. In 2002, he founded the White Shark Trust to support research, education and conservation projects focused on white sharks.

His genetic, tagging and fin-printing studies were integral in discovering a link between South African and Australian white shark populations. This work was a major factor in the decision to list white sharks on CITES in 2004. Michael’s research and conservation efforts have been featured in numerous television documentaries including BBC, National Geographic, and Discovery Channel and publications including Science, Nature, BBC Wildlife Magazine, and Africa Geographic. In 2006, Michael co-authored South Africa’s Great White Sharks (Struik Publishers) with photographer Thomas P. Peschak.

Simon Elwen, Sea Search

Simon Elwen

Born and raised in South Africa, Simon Elwen has always loved both the sea and animals. After graduating as a biologist, he travelled and worked in several other countries including the United Kingdom and Gabon. Most of his work since his PhD has taken place in Namibia, where he ran the Namibian Dolphin Project. Here, he’s been focusing on Heaviside’s and bottlenose dolphin ecology. More recently, Simon moved back to Cape Town to setup Sea Search as a base of operations to make it easier to expand his research within South Africa.

Although Simon is interested in all aspects of the ocean, he’s particularly interested in the behavioural adaptations that cetaceans make to different environmental conditions. This is an important line of research these days due to the increasing number of changes that have occurred in the marine realm from human impacts.

Monwabisi Sikweyiya, Shark Spotters

Monwabisi Sikweyiya. Photo by Wayne Conradie

Born in Gugulethu and raised in Khayelitsha, Monwabisi Sikweyiya has always had a love for the ocean around Cape Town. He joined the local surf lifesaving club as a teenager as a way to stay off the streets and out of trouble, and soon started working on a "learn to swim" programme, teaching kids from local townships water safety skills to reduce accidental drownings at the beaches. In 2004 he became the first shark spotter to be stationed above Muizenberg to help keep surfers safe after a number of shark bites in the area. Monwa and the Shark Spotters programme grew together and now, 15 years later, Monwa is the field manager, overseeing 40 staff members across eight locations. He has gained a number of skills including his driver’s licence and skipper’s ticket, and has had the opportunity to travel to Australia to share his knowledge and expertise on shark safety with officials over there.

Monwabisi Sikweyiya. Photo by Wayne Conradie

Monwa's talk at Shark Night will give the audience an insider’s perspective of the highs and lows of being a shark spotter. From blistering hot summers to freezing winters, shark bites to whale strandings, Monwa will detail the challenges of being on the ground at the forefront of shark safety, and the immense value sharks have bought to his life and those of his fellow spotters.

Jannes Landschoff, Sea Change Project

Jannes Landschoff

The Sea Change Project is known for natural history documentaries about the Great African Seaforest around the cold waters of Cape Town. The work of the project aims to motivate scientists, policymakers and individuals to engage meaningfully with nature and to protect our oceans. Dr Jannes Landschoff is a marine biologist working for the Sea Change Project, whose scientific expertise lies in marine biodiversity research. He has authored over a dozen of scientific papers, and found and scientifically described a number of species new to science. For the past five years Jannes has been an integral part of the daily underwater explorations of the Sea Change Project. He also played an important part in discovering and documenting the octopus-catshark interactions featured in BBC’s Blue Planet II.

With much attention on the larger shark species it can be easy to overlook the magic of the smaller sharks and rays that inhabit the kelp forest. Underwater sightings of the large species in the kelp are rare. Yet Jannes and colleagues get to visit and see the smaller sharks of the forest every day, and their many personal encounters open a window to their inner lives - where they lay their eggs, how they develop and hatch. Species like the pyjama shark, the leopard catshark, the dark and the puffadder shyshark and the onefin electric ray are the small super predators of the underwater forest ecosystem. Much is known about them, but many strange mysteries still remain unsolved. They play a pivotal role in the complexity of this magic underwater realm. Enjoy rare insights into these creatures from Jannes, who dives with these animals every day.

Get your tickets soon - space is limited

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