Plants and animals: The sea creatures of South Africa

Written by Megan Berk and Josh Woo

What is this new variant in South Africa? Coax variants will become an important focal point on Carnivore Island

You may have noticed in the news this year that there is a rebranding initiative being carried out on Carnivore Island.

Carnivore Island Photo credit: Benedict Evans/SFX

According to CNN, the island, formerly known as Coveney Island, is being redesigned to place more emphasis on biodiversity, green spaces and green economic development. The upcoming new look, even according to the co-architects, is described as “a dramatic unifying form for the collective personality of the realm”.

Carnivore Island’s iconic, red wolf statue. The people who manage Carnivore Island believe that wolffish are going to be a source of pride, especially after the popularization of groundless reports that wolves would be wiped out in South Africa thanks to their fur and teeth. They are working on an exhibition at the Lion and Leopard Primate Trust in Durban, Africa, where they believe the new sculpture will be unveiled.

The white lion statue on the edge of Coveney Island. Coveney Island, the island that houses Carnivore Island.

What exactly is different about this iteration of Carnivore Island? Clearly, the new look means that the statue of Coveney the lion is replaced with a larger white representation of this iconic South African animal, while the island’s new garland design is pictured in white.

So why the new and better look?

Carnivore Island / David Jacques Image: Courtesy Sea Monkeys

To the tourism department’s credit, they have done some impressive work getting their message across that South Africa is great destination for wildlife, but has a surprising lack of space for them. They recognized that the island needed a makeover to suit the future, but were held back in their imagination due to certain cultural factors. For example, no discolored animals were allowed.

However, the grand designs include more than a major redesign to the island. There is a long history of the northern cape’s marine life artwork. The legend goes that a man named Heinz Quint created a series of lions to attack the city of Stellenbosch, during the reign of King Sobhuza II.

Heinz Quint Image: Courtesy Sea Monkeys

A legend that has an older heritage, the tradition goes that the first lion wearing blood was painted on the walls of a graveyard where the lioness was buried. Other stories related that Heinz Quint’s statues were meant to release the dead.

Carnivore Island, Coveney Island Image: Courtesy Sea Monkeys

According to historians, the true origins of the work are a little more intriguing: The work was actually an artwork inspired by the goddess Mesu’s immense mural atop the Dutch church in Stellenbosch. It is rumored that Mesu, as she is also known, was responsible for the creation of the zoo.

The latest revamp of the island’s artwork is done in collaboration with Sea Monkeys, who will curate the artistic content. They hope to pull off the ambitious task of attempting to represent South Africa’s most famous marine animals.

Koper Lee, curator of Sea Monkeys, explained that she is especially interested in the fact that a number of the animals in the artwork are sea lions, whales and sharks. The theme of diversity is integral to both Sea Monkeys and Carnivore Island.

Carnivore Island, Coveney Island Image: Courtesy Sea Monkeys

Coveney Island, the island that houses Carnivore Island, also has new, green standing icons on the wall. According to Sea Monkeys, the green icons will also become a central focal point on the island, so that people will notice not only the new skull of Coveney the lion, but also the new garland that encompasses the variety of other marine animals present in this entire ecosystem.

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