With an increasing number of factors affecting the health of the world’s marine resources, &Beyond is responding to this clarion call.
With an increasing number of factors affecting the health of the world’s marine resources &Beyond is expanding its focus on wildlife conservation to include the protection and sustainability of our seas with Oceans Without Borders – a call to preserving our marine ecosystems.
Building on the positive influence it extends over more than 9 million acres of protected wildlife land, &Beyond has recently increased its portfolio of exclusive island lodges to now encompass, &Beyond Mnemba Island, off the coast of Zanzibar, &Beyond Benguerra Island, in Mozambique’s Bazaruto Archipelago, and &Beyond Vamizi Island in the Quirimbas Archipelago. All of these spectacular island destinations boast a strong conservation focus. And with the inclusion of the Sodwana Bay region, where &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve is located, &Beyond is able to support marine conservation over approximately 3 000 km of African coastline.
The current landscape
Coral reefs and marine wildlife worldwide are facing unprecedented threats from local and international pressures and global climate change
According to WWF, more than 20 million people live along coastal shoreline, with this number expected to double before 2030. Many of these people are heavily directly reliant on local ecosystems for their livelihoods and food security
Rapidly rising concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere are driving ocean temperatures up and causing increasingly frequent and severe coral bleaching events around the world.
Approximately 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean annually. Plastic pollution in our oceans has dire implication for all marine life, as well as humans
Coral bleaching is increasingly causing widespread loss of coral habitat. According to various scientific sources, we experienced the longest global period of coral bleaching from 2014 to 2017. The frequency, intensity and extent of bleaching are entirely unprecedented, with scientists estimating that more than 30% of the world’s reefs have been severely impacted by bleaching
If we don’t act now, we may face a world without coral reefs, and the multitude of species they support, by 2050, or sooner
Why Oceans Without Borders?
&Beyond, in partnership with Africa Foundation, is expanding its focus on wildlife conservation to include the protection and sustainability of our seas with Oceans Without Borders (OWB) – a call to preserving our marine eco-systems. Thanks to the success of &Beyond’s Impact Model of Care of the Land, Wildlife & People, over the 9million acres of wildlife conservation area that we influence. Additionally, we have the ability to influence an approximate 3000km of coast line, through the marine activities at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve and the three islands in our portfolio, which we have decided to implement a similar model for marine conservation.
&Beyond has engaged with the local fishing communities living near each of our island lodges in the belief that it essential for us to understand these people, whose livelihoods are largely dependent on the ocean.
Vision and Objectives
Oceans Without Borders strives to catalyse positive change across our ocean footprint, through the care of the ocean, marine wildlife and people… Leaving our oceans a better place.
Objective 1: To facilitate world class research in order to inform decision making and track progress
Objective 2: Support the improved effectiveness of marine habitat conservation and the establishment or enlargement of marine protected areas (MPAs), seeking higher conservation status
Objective 3: Support the protection of identified iconic species
Objective 4: Through our model of community consultation and collaboration, implement initiatives which upskill and empower local people, to ensure that marine conservation delivers a positive community impact.
Objective 5: Multiply positive impact on oceans globally through the engagement and education of &Beyond guests, collaboration with international initiatives and local communities
Oceans Without Borders is a partnership between &Beyond and Africa Foundation
Africa Foundation is &Beyond’s preferred community development partner. It is an independent, non-profit organisation that works with rural communities, living in or close to conservation areas, to facilitate their development and thereby generate community support for the conservation efforts in that region.
Focus areas and impact
&Beyond has always believed that the land/oceans, the people, and the wildlife, are inextricably intertwined. Just as ecotourism and the conservation of resources are vital for the future and prosperity of their people, so the support of those people is critical to protecting threatened ecosystems, endangered species, and the precious biodiversity of the land and the oceans. Our conservation projects on land have been successful because they have involved the people who live near the conservation areas, giving them a stake in the preservation of these resources.
Ironically, the very communities that rely the most closely on marine resources often pose the biggest threat to those very same resources. For this reason, at all three of our island lodges, our most immediate focus will be on reducing the local communities’ dependence on the ocean and giving them a stake in the preservation of the marine world.
Education: This is a strong focus at &Beyond’s three islands and Phinda Private Game Reserve, with local communities taught how to ensure the survival of fish resources in the surrounding reefs
We are currently piloting a marine conservation education program at &Beyond Mnemba Island, to roll out to &Beyond’s Vamizi and Benguerra Islands
Working with our community development partners, Africa Foundation and Friends of Vamizi Trust, &Beyond focuses on small business development as an alternative source of income to fishing.
Current projects include facilitating sales of baskets woven by women in the communities on &Beyond Vamizi Island to guests
Monitoring and research
Even in areas where marine resources are currently protected, monitoring and research is crucial to set a baseline, which can be referenced over time to identify any potential threats in order to understand their impact. This then allows steps to be taken to minimise this impact and mitigate the threats.
While each lodge and their applicable partners will run their own initiatives, a coordinated project will consolidate findings. Although research is performed at each destination, no comparisons have previously been undertaken.
Key monitoring projects:
Coral reefs are a vital indicator of the health of the earth’s oceans and are increasingly threatened around the world.
Coral bleaching, due to increasing ocean temperatures, is causing extensive damage to coral reefs globally.
&Beyond Vamizi Island is a unique site that has both high coral diversity, and high resilience to coral bleaching, due to upwelling of cool water from the depths of the adjacent Mozambique channel. It is therefore an important source reef, providing larvae to replenish reefs to the north and south.
Currently, monitoring networks on all three islands are being established to improve our understanding of their diversity and to detect signs of coral bleaching.
Fish tagging and monitoring projects are being developed to monitor diversity, identify key source reef areas and demonstrate the benefit of community conservation areas.
We are investigating the best means of monitoring whale migration routes at all three islands. As conditions differ vastly between the three destinations, the effectiveness of using whale sonar equipment at each island, to identify whale pods by sound, is being evaluated.
Through partnering with leading cetacean research teams, and harnessing new developments in drone technology, we will be able to assess whale population size and individual health.
We are also looking into using hydrophones to record whale songs to identify the movements of individuals.
At the lodges where whales are frequently spotted, we can involve our guests in using photo identification to help track their movements.
Turtle nesting is currently monitored at &Beyond’s Vamizi and Mnemba Islands.
&Beyond Vamizi Island is home to the oldest and only ongoing turtle monitoring project in northern Mozambique, which is managed by one of the longest-standing turtle monitoring programmes in East Africa. A dedicated team of Conservation Monitors records data and tags the turtles with a unique number that allows their movements to be tracked.
&Beyond Mnemba Island is the only protected nesting site for the endangered green turtle in Zanzibar, and one of few in the whole of Tanzania. &Beyond staff monitor turtle nests, protecting the eggs, hatchlings and the mother, and share their data with research organisations, as well as the government of Zanzibar.
&Beyond Benguerra is one of few locations where all five turtle species are known to breed.
The protection of endangered species
With climate change, pollution and habitat loss all putting an increased strain on the world’s marine species, &Beyond believes that it is now more important than ever to protect the marine life in the oceans that lie off our island lodges.
Key species projects:
Grey reef sharks
&Beyond Vamizi Island is home to one of the very few aggregations of grey reef sharks on the east coast of Africa.
All the sharks seen on the site are mature females and it is likely that this is an important breeding area for grey reef sharks.
The site is also a nursery for young grey reef shark pups.
The team at Vamizi is tagging the sharks and recording their movements to research this phenomenon.
&Beyond Mnemba Island is home to the Ader’s duiker, the rarest antelope species in Africa.
The numbers of the antelope have more than quadrupled since the introduction of five duiker to Mnemba in 2005, with an estimated 35 duiker currently living on the island.
&Beyond is collecting data to improve the breeding programme and to work out the best population size to ensure the long-term survival of the duiker and the health of the island.
A breeding project for these endangered antelope is run at &Beyond Mnemba Island.
More than 300 have since been translocated from Mnemba to create new or boost existing populations in other parks.
The number of suni has been carefully monitored and reduced by means of translocation to ensure that it does not impact on the Ader’s duiker breeding project
&Beyond Benguerra Island is home to the only population of the endangered dugong along the east coast of Africa; an estimated 250 animals.
Law enforcement and research on the island is managed by ANAC, the National Parks authority.
Fishing nets and community fishing pose the single greatest threat to the dugong. Oceans Without Borders strategy to counter this is to work with local communities on establishing alternative sources of food and livelihoods other than fishing, thereby reducing the use of the nets.
We are working with local communities and the Africa Foundation on identifying the needs of the community and creating solutions. Vegetable gardens are already being created to solve some of these issues and we are looking at finding alternative protein sources for the local people
Journey with us
Just by travelling with &Beyond, our guests make a meaningful difference to the land/oceans, wildlife and people of the areas we operate in. We invite you to travel with heart and embark on an unforgettable journey with us in Africa, Asia, and South America’s iconic destinations.