Robben Island, South Africa—Infamous as Nelson Mandela's former incarceration site, this island is a hotspot for seabird biodiversity, including threatened bank cormorants, African black oystercatchers, and 15,000 African penguins. It also lies in the middle of major shipping lanes, and the risk of oil spills to local seabirds has been well documented. The worst oil spill occurred in 2000, when 13,000 penguins were "oiled" on Robben Island alone. Most of these were cleaned and released, but the future of this penguin population (reduced by 90 percent in the last century) is by no means assured. You can help a team of scientists coordinated by Dr Les Underhill, Mr Mario Leshoro, Dr Robert Crawford, and Professor Peter Barham monitor seabirds on the island and help reduce the impact of the various threats to this fragile environment.
Meet the Scientists
Professor Peter Barham
University of Bristol
Peter Barham currently holds the posts of Professor of Physics at the University of Bristol, UK, and Visiting Professor of Molecular Gastronomy at the Royal Veterinary University of Denmark, Copenhagen.
Dr Les Underhill
Avian Demography Unit, University of Cape Town
Dr Underhill is Director of the Avian Demography Unit at the University of Cape Town, where he received his doctorate degree, and a Professor in the Department of Statistical Sciences.
Dr Robert Crawford
Marine and Coastal Management
Dr Crawford is a Chief Specialist Scientist with the Marine and Coastal Management branch of South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. He holds a doctorate from the University of Cape Town.
Mario Leshoro is an Environmental Officer on Robben Island and holds an M.A. in Environment and Social Development.