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To celebrate Earth Day on April 22, local manufacturer Pratley highlights how its product is helping Oceans Without Borders preserve the coral reefs around Mnemba Island near Zanzibar. Here, unique South African adhesive Pratley Putty is used to secure and restructure endangered coral reefs off Zanzibar.
Coral reefs are nicknamed the rainforests of the sea because they play a vital role in preventing the loss of marine ecosystems. They are home to 25% of our marine life. Created in mid-2021, the Coral Nursery Project led by Oceans Without Borders has become a beacon of hope. “In keeping with the philosophy of Earth Days, Pratley is thrilled and honored to be part of this project to protect, manage and restore nature,” says Eldon Kruger, Pratley’s Chief Marketing Officer.
Oceans Without Borders uses marine rangers to tend and maintain the coral gardens. Here, the local reef is a living laboratory for reef restoration. Broken pieces of parent coral are collected from all reefs. The fragments are made into new pieces of coral, with each fragment being fixed on a special disc with Pratley Putty and added to the table in the underwater coral nursery.
Algae is cleaned from each disc with its coral fragment to ensure healthy growth. It takes about three months for these coral fragments to form new colonies, after which they are ready to be transplanted back into the reef.
Pratley Putty is a slightly water soluble, hand moldable, high performance putty type adhesive. It is ideal for underwater use, but can also fill, seal, build and bond almost any rigid material. “Pratley Putty was found to be stronger and more durable in seawater than any other glue we tested, giving the transplanted coral the best chance of survival,” adds Dr. Tessa Hempson, lead scientist for the project. restoration.
Such is the strength of Pratley Putty that it has even been used to refloat partially sunken ships and repair boats at sea. It is widely used in the aquarium trade to secure rock and coral fragments.
“This isn’t the first time Pratley Putty has been used in conservation projects,” Kruger continues. A green sea turtle has had its damaged shell repaired with Pratley Putty, while researchers have used Pratley Putty to stick radio transmitters to the scales of pangolins while studying them in the wild. Since its launch in the early 1960s, Pratley Putty has become a household name, with myriad uses.
Pratley Putty was even used by the US space agency aboard its Ranger moon landing craft. This led to Pratley Putty gaining worldwide fame as the only South African manufacture to go to the moon. The strength and reliability of Pratley Putty reinforces the company’s mantra of producing products that will outperform all others in the global marketplace.
With fragile oceans under increasing pressure from a range of threats and the livelihoods of millions of people at stake, Africa Foundation, in collaboration with &BEYOND, has embarked on the Oceans Without Borders initiative to preserve some of the ecosystems Africa’s most important and most threatened seafarers.