Premier Helen Zille Explores West Coast Fossil Park
On Friday, 29 June 2018, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille visited the West Coast Fossil Park, which is a National Heritage Site. The Premier was taken on a guided tour through the park by senior park staff and managers.
Fossil Park manager, Pippa Haarhoff, welcomed the Premier to the park and gave a brief introduction and history of the site. She explained how the fossil rich area was found in 1958, while mining for phosphates was underway. The site, now world-renowned for its well-preserved fossils, contains fossils as old as five million years. The carefully excavated fossils include the remains of extinct animals such as short-necked giraffes and African bears. “This area is regarded as one of the richest fossil sites in the world. We have a huge diversity, close to 300 different kinds of animals, including marine, fresh-water and terrestrial fossils. There are well over one million specimens in our collection.” said Haarhoff.
The Premier was given a tour of the new visitors centre, various exhibitions and also one of the active dig sites in the park. At the end of the tour, Premier Zille thanked all the officials for the work they do in preserving these fossils. “One leaves so much the wiser for having seen all this. We want everyone to come here, and see where they come from.” said the Premier.
The park provides school tours with mock digs to educate young learners about fossils and how they teach us about the importance of preserving and protecting our environment.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport and Heritage Western Cape protects heritage resources by promoting awareness of Provincial Heritage Sites. Let us visit these sites and educate ourselves on our heritage, and how to improve our future, BETTER TOGETHER.