Port to Pub: Dawesville environmentalist to do swim to save the potoroo

Johann van der Merwe.       
Picture: Bruce Hunt   d466429
Johann van der Merwe.        Picture: Bruce Hunt d466429

DAWESVILLE environmentalist Johann van der Merwe is swimming in the Hotel Rottnest Port to Pub on Saturday, March 25 with a purpose.

He will be swimming as part of a duo with Dan Adel to raise funds and awareness for the critically endangered Gilbert’s potoroo in Albany.

Mr van der Merwe will take to the water with some of the event’s more high profile participants, such as Olympians Jarrod Poort, Libby Trickett and Eamon Sullivan, in honour of the original Rottnest Channel crossing that took place in 1956.

Port to Pub event organiser Ceinwen Roberts said she was proud that the swim could be used as a platform for individuals to raise funds and celebrate the West Australian way of life. She said it is also really exciting for ordinary people to compete on the same playing field as Australian legends.

MORE: Barnett may have breached Electoral Act

MORE: Seat of Jandakot set to go the wire

MORE: Stirling Mayor praises new Balcatta MLA David Michael

The 25km ultra-marathon is the longest swim in Australia and aims to attract people from across the world looking to compete on the national and international circuit.

Mr van der Merwe said he was looking forward to supporting a worthy cause.

“I used to manage all the national parks in South Africa; from lions to potoroos, I have always had a passion for conservation,” he said.

“I am extremely motivated by the potoroo cause and am really looking forward to getting in the water and rallying around a common purpose.”

The Gilbert’s potoroo is a critically endangered mammal with an estimated wild population of 40. Last year, their habitat suffered a severe fire and it is believed the population has halved.