Today, 8 June, is World Oceans Day.
In case you haven’t heard of The Big Five, they are the five great mammals that you find in different parts of the African bush. The African lion, the Cape buffalo, the African elephant, the African leopard and the black and white rhino. They are all fantastic creatures and anyone lucky enough to go on safari will be in awe of these fine animals. But have you heard of the Marine Big 5?
When I worked as a volunteer at Addo with the elephants many years ago, they introduced me to this area of conservation.
The Sundays River Valley forms part of Addo land and the river empties into the Indian Ocean near Port Elizabeth on the southern coast. The Sundays River Valley is important because of the irrigation system it provides to the whole area, both for the people and the wildlife. That area includes a large section of the ocean and of course, the aquatic life it contains.
At the time, I remember they had started to include marine life as part of their conservation efforts. It was all new and everyone was learning about how to protect it. I wasn’t able to include it as part of my volunteer experience though, unfortunately.
Be that as it may, while on tour in Cape Town, I did see the seals and the penguins up close, a wonderful experience. For the dolphins and whales, I would have to wait until I went to New Zealand, but that’s a story for another day.
They use the term, “The Serengeti of the Sea” and you can see why. Where the Pacific Ocean collides with the Atlantic Ocean, there exists the most amazing marine ecosystem.
As today is World Oceans Day, let’s appreciate the wonderful and (many) endangered creatures which live in the oceans.
Let’s protect them, not only today but in the future too.
The Marine Big 5
Southern Right, Humpback and Bryde´s Whales
Average length: 15 metres
Depth: 300 metres
Weight: 60 tons
Max Speed: 17 kph
Interesting fact: They can withstand life at sea for up to 100 years.
Great White Sharks
Average length: 5 metres approx.
Depth: 1200 metres
Weight: 3 tons
Max Speed: 50 kph
Interesting fact: They can go without food for up to 3 months.
Cape Fur Seals
Average length: 2 metres
Depth: 200 metres
Weight: 200 kg
Max Speed: 16 kph
Interesting fact: After spending a long time out at sea, they are able to go to sleep while floating on the water in a particular way, still able to breathe.
Average length: 60 cm
Depth: 130 metres
Weight: 3.5 kg
Max Speed: 20 kph
Interesting fact: Sometimes referred to “jackass” penguins because of the call they make which is similar to a donkey.
Common, Humpback and Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins
Average length: 2.5 metres
Depth: 500 metres
Weight: 200 kg
Max Speed: 40 kph
Interesting fact: Pregnancy lasts 17 months.
Marine Big 5 – A Quick Guide
Video from South Africa Tourism
Please leave any comments below and I´ll be happy to get back to you.
Thank you for reading and sharing with your friends and family.
16 thoughts on “Marine Big 5 – A Quick Guide”
What a lovely post about the Big 5 great information on all the different points.
I enjoyed the post.
Thank you Tommy. Pleased you liked it ?
This is a really interesting article. There is a lot of information about the marine big 5 that I didn’t know about before, it really is interesting. Keep it coming.
Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.
All the best,
Great, Tom. Thank you! ?
Thanks for sharing these amazing yet endangered sea creatures that live in the Sundays River Valley. Sounds like you had a fascinating experience as a volunteer around this area of conservation.
Hi Simon. Yes, it was amazing. I hope to do it all again one day ?
Very interesting article. I now want to travel to that area and take part in both a safari to witness the Big 5 but also the Marine Big 5. We love nature and love to spend as much time out in nature as we can. We love sailing because it is a great way to naturally travel the worlds waterways with less negative impact on the environment. Thanks.
Hi Deb. Ah, you would love this then. If you´re not afraid of water, this is the perfect safari for you! One thing I regret not doing is going down in the shark cage. Something to consider for the future! ?
Hello. Great article. I enjoyed reading your post, and love sea animals. Growing up in South Africa I was able to meet all the ones you mentioned ( and many more ). Thank you for sharing
Hi Felicity. You are so lucky to come from that area of the world then. I´m glad you liked the post. We have to protect this wonderful creatures as best we can ?
Interesting! I have gone for a whales watching and saw dolphins too in Alasaka but was not close up enough to me. I guess it depend on luck too whether they happen to be nearby or not.
I have not seen a live penguin before and would love to see them if have chance.
Thank you for sharing all these lovely animals..:-)
Hi Janet. Alaska is on my travel list for this reason too. I think you would love South Africa for all the animals, land and marine. The penguins are so easy to see down there on the beach. Beautiful. Thank you for your comments ?
Besides not knowing who the “Marine Big 5” were, I didn’t even know who the “Big 5” were! It is a very interesting topic though, and I am glad that I got to learn about them. I’ve loved learning about animals since I was very young, especially marine animals.
Perfect, Alejandro. I´m glad my post was useful to you. Hopefully one day you might be able to travel down there and see them for yourself ?
I had no idea that African penguins have a call that sounds like a donkey. Interesting.
These are all truly majestic creatures, and they deserve to live their lives without interruptions from humans.
Thank you for reminding us that we are not the only creatures on the planet.
Nor should we be.
Thanks Michael. Yes, the penguin call is very unique, or not as the case may be lol. Totally agree with you ?