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Pratley Putty used in the rehabilitation of coral reefs in initiative to preserve the underwater ecosystem

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The South African adhesive is being used to secure and restructure endangered coral reefs off the coast of an African island as Earth Day was commemorated on Friday.

Coral reefs are critical to prevent marine ecosystems from collapsing. Supplied image.

CORAL reefs are dubbed the rainforests of the sea as they play a critical role in preventing marine ecosystems from disappearing.

In a bid to protect the underwater ecosystem, local manufacturer Pratley is providing assistance to Oceans Without Borders to preserve the coral reefs around Mnemba Island near Zanzibar.

The South African adhesive is being used to secure and restructure endangered coral reefs off the coast of the African island as Earth Day was commemorated on Friday.

Pratley marketing director Eldon Kruger explained that coral reefs were home to 25% of marine life and in order to preserve them the Coral Nursery Project,spearheaded by Oceans Without Borders, was established in mid-2021.

Pratley Putty. Supplied image.

“In keeping with Earth Days’ philosophy, Pratley is excited and honoured to be part of this project to protect, manage, and restore nature,” Kruger said.

He explained that Oceans Without Borders was using marine rangers to maintain and nurture the coral gardens.

“Here the local reef is a living laboratory for reef restoration and broken pieces of parent coral are collected from all over the reefs.”

Kruger added that the fragments were transformed into new coral pieces, whereby each fragment was secured to a special disc with Pratley Putty and added to the underwater coral nursery table.

“Algae is scrubbed off every disc along with its coral fragment to ensure healthy growth and it takes about three months for these coral fragments to grow into new colonies, at which point they are ready to be transplanted back into the reef,” said Kruger.

He said that Pratley Putty was a slightly water-soluble, hand-moldable, high-performance putty-like adhesive, and so it was ideal for use underwater.

It can also fill, seal, build up and bond almost any rigid material.

Dr Tessa Hempson, principal scientist with the restoration project added: “Pratley Putty has proven to be stronger and longer-lasting in seawater, than any other glue that we tested, thereby giving the transplanted coral the best chance of survival,”

She said that Pratley Putty was so strong that it had even been used to refloat partially sunken ships and repair boats at sea.

Pratley Putty is being used to restructure endangered coral reefs. Supplied image.

It is also widely used in the aquarium keeping hobby for securing rock and coral fragments.

“This is not the first time Pratley Putty has been used in conservation projects,” Kruger said. He said that a green sea turtle had its damaged shell repaired with Pratley Putty, while researchers have used the adhesive brand 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 a myriad of uses,” said Kruger.

He added that it was even used by the American space agency onboard its Ranger moon-landing craft.

“This led to Pratley Putty acquiring its global fame as the only South African manufactured product to go to the moon.”

The brand’s marketing director also believes that Pratley Putty’s strength and reliability reinforced the company’s mantra of producing products that will outperform all others on the world market.

“With fragile oceans under increasing pressure from a range of threats, and the livelihoods of millions at stake, Africa Foundation, in collaboration with &BEYOND, embarked on the Oceans Without Borders initiative to preserve some of Africa’s most important and threatened marine ecosystems,” he said.

The Saturday Star

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