You’re familiar with the famous Big Five—the original top hunting trophies of South Africa that today are coveted safari photography prizes—but did you know there is also a Marine Big Five? These are the most sought-after sightings for safari-goers with an eye trained on the ocean off the Western Cape. The great white shark, Southern right whale, African penguin, Cape fur seal and dolphins (of various species) comprise this quintet, and they offer an exciting quest for nature travelers to complement the more familiar terrestrial Big Five. Marine life flourishes in this region due to the influence of two major ocean currents, providing an abundance of food and nutrients that creates a thriving ecosystem sometimes referred to as the Serengeti of the Seas. Your tour guide is Expedition Leader Russell Gerber, who leads this virtual offshore safari to introduce these charismatic sea dwellers. Learn about their natural history, reproduction, behavior and conservation status with your Cape Town host whose expertise as a marine biologist includes an 8-week research expedition to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean centered around South Africa’s research station at Marion Island.
Originally presented November 10, 2021
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