Marine Mammals

Whales

Most whales have had a sad history. Humpbacks in particular, a highly migratory animal, were hunted to less than 90% of their original population due to the whaling industry that only ended in the 1990’s. However, since many conservation initiatives began working together to protect the animals, humpback whales have had a brilliant recovery. The increase in population size and individual breeding humpback whales can been seen on a daily basis between June and September in Mozambique. Occasionally the shy and rare southern right whale sighting may occur, also bringing hope for this depleted population.

The pregnant female humpback whales migrate from the cold, nutrient rich, Antarctic waters to the warm, tropical waters off this eastern coast of Africa to give birth to their calves. During the entire 4-5 month migration the mothers will not feed. After birthing a calf the mothers care for their young for at least two whole years before calving again. Whale watching is another lucrative industry for dive centres during the winter months, and it is not uncommon to watch a mother teaching her youngster how to breach.

Several initiatives along the coast conduct whale watching surveys trying to quantify how many whales are actually passing the coastline. Proper whale watching practices have been created and are trying to be implemented along the coast. These resources can be accessed here, and researchers will post other updates on these majestic mammals.

 

Dugongs

Dugongs are the largest of the remaining Sirenia order, closely related to manatees and the extinct Stellar’s sea cow. They are marine grazers, feeding on sea grasses previously found in many of the estuaries and mangroves of Mozambique. Populations were at one time seen in all the river estuaries, including Inhambane Estuary, Bazaruto Area, Quelimane, Angoche, Maputo Bay and Quirimbus Archipelago. A shy animal, they are difficult to see by boat and aerial surveys are the most accurate way to count numbers. A more recent survey portrays dire results, and it is believed that there is only one remaining viable population found within the Bazaruto National Park Area (Endangered Wildlife Trust). During one survey in 2012 conducted over Inhambane 14 individual dugongs were sighted perhaps signifying another, previously thought to be extinct, viable population, and yet within the year there were at least two reports of dugongs being removed by the artisanal fishermen within the bay. Listed by the IUCN Red List as vulnerable to extinction the dugongs face many challenges, with mangrove destruction, and take as incidental catch in gill nets, this animal has seen a drastic population decline. WWF and EWT have taken an interest in the species and more research and news about these peaceful creatures can be found here. (Information credit: Endangered Wildlife Trust)

Species+ Developed by CITES and CMS: Look up your favorite animal!

Source CITES Species+ is a new online resource providing comprehensive information on globally protected species. It includes all species covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), as well as those included in the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations. Species+ can be accessed at www.speciesplus.net What is Species+?… Read more »

Manta Alfredi

Whales’ migration to Mozambique to cross path of ‘gas men’

Humpback whales are regular visitors to the turquoise waters of Palma Bay. In this remote and unspoilt corner of northern Mozambique, sleepy fishing villages are tucked between mangroves and the coral reefs teem with marine life. All that is about to change as the “gas men” prepare to move in. Hungry to exploit one of the world’s largest natural gas finds in recent years, Italy’s… Read more »

Marine Conservation in Mozambique – July 2013

Welcome to the July 2013 edition of Marine Conservation in Mozambique. If you are not already on our mailing list please subscribe here. You can also help by forwarding this newsletter to anyone who might be interested in helping us with the conservation of marine life in Mozambique. If you have any stories you’d like featured in March’s newsletter then please email us! Special: Join… Read more »

Clarification of the Possible Whale Harpooning in Barra

Clarification was given on our incident report of suspected Illegal, Unlicensed and Unreported fishing activity made on the 2nd of July 2013 to the Ministry of Fisheries. The report presented an incident as witnessed by one of our Eyes on the Horizon at Barra in Inhambane Province, on the morning of June 18th 2013 of a possible Whale Harpooning. Responding to our report Manuel Castiano,… Read more »

The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Dugong Emergency Protection Project

By the Endangered Wildlife Trust In partnership with the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park Securing core Dugong herds and habitat by mitigating major threats and strengthening existing structures from 2011 to 2020. Project Rationale: Acknowledging that East Africa’s single remaining Dugong population is located within and bordering the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, and noting that this population is under threat from harmful and illegal fishing activities; the… Read more »

Dugong foraging on seagrass

Marine Megafauna Foundation: Video

An insight into the world leading scientific research of the Marine Megafauna Foundation, based in Tofo, Mozambique.