GARDEN ROUTE NEWSFLASH - Marine ranger for Wilderness, Jonathan Britton has confirmed the rolling out of new signage for walking dogs in Sedgefield beaches is underway.
Earlier this year, the process was piloted in Wilderness.
“Discussions were held with the local conservancies as well as dog walking representatives to finalise the zoning and design of the signage and maps,” says Britton.
Dog walkers need not fear, there has been no significant change to the current dog walking areas, this is more of a rebranding of the signage to make it simple and more noticeable for dog walkers to comply with the different zones.
The maps are also intended to direct visitors to Sedgefield to areas where dog walking is permitted.
The Bitou Municipality and Natures Valley Trust are also currently working together to test the same zoning system in Plettenberg Bay and Natures Valley.
“Swartvlei from Gericke’s Point to the Myoli Beach remains a no-dog walking area.
"From Myoli to Cola and towards Platbank is still a dog walking beach. A leash only zone was introduced at Myoli Beach.”
“The objective of the rezoning is to ensure different users utilise beaches more responsibly. Beaches also provide habitat for coastal bird species.
"The red and orange zones are not only about habitat protection for local wildlife and safe zones for coastal birds but also to ensure that beach goers who find dogs a nuisance can also enjoy a day out at the beach.
"The code of conduct outlines some basic guidelines. Dog owners can collectively make this new system work but it will only take a few irresponsible dog owners to spoil a visit to the beach for everyone,” says Britton who adds that those walking dogs, “must please pick up and bin all dog poo.”’
There is sadly a sharp decline in the population of white-fronted plovers nationally.
“White-fronted plovers have very inconspicuous nests that are well camouflaged. Most beach visitors don’t even realise they are there.
"Observational data suggests that white-fronted plovers recognise danger approaching from about 30m away from their nest at which point they get ready to run or fly away.
"One of the major threats to these birds is that dogs tend to chase the birds or disturb their eggs once the eggs are left exposed.
"It takes only about five minutes for a plover egg to overheat or to be taken out/trampled by a predator,” explains Britton.
Read the full story in this week’s Knysna-Plett Herald
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