OWB is committed to the support and protection of marine life, with especial focus on iconic species such as turtles, sharks, whales and dugong all of which are keystone species i.e. animals that are integral to the balance of a healthy ecosystem. In their absence, there are warning signals that ecosystems would likely disintegrate.
Marine turtles are particularly sensitive to changes within their environment, and as a result, provide early red-flag warnings that a habitat is under threat. Each island has a special part to play in the protection of this highly endangered species:
Mnemba Island is a protected nesting site for green turtles in Zanzibar
Vamizi Island is home to the oldest and only on-going turtle monitoring project in northern Mozambique
Benguerra is one of the few islands off Africa where all 5 turtle species nest
Our achievements this year include:
- Ongoing nest monitoring and turtle tagging at Mnemba and Vamizi Islands
- The tagging of 6 grey reef sharks, and 1 hammerhead, together with the servicing of 4 existing acoustic receivers, and the installation of 2 new receivers on Vamizi reefs
- Tagging of two giant trevally, one of the ocean’s apex predators, as a proof of concept for a Western Indian Ocean wide collaboration
- Daily whale monitoring from Vamizi Island, with observational data collected in conjunction with Gelica Eugenio (UniLúrio) being synchronised as part of a region-wide whale census
- Participation by Vamizi Island in the region-wide acoustic study of whale songs as part of the SONGS project
With climate change, over-harvesting, destructive fishing practices, plastic and other marine pollution, and habitat loss all putting increasing strain on the world’s marine species, protective measures are no longer optional, but an absolute necessity.