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Bazaruto Archipelago becoming a National Park comes as governments and coral scientists have just completed the biannual meeting of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) in Maputo, Mozambique.

Mozambique's Bazaruto Archipelago Becomes World's Newest Marine Nature Reserve, Organisations such as the United Nations Environmnent Programme (UNEP) and groups including the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) believe the decision will spur on efforts towards conserving the archipelago and its natural riches through initiatives such as sound and sustainable eco-tourism.

The East African country of Mozambique -- a former Portuguese colony -- recently emerged from one of the continent's bloodiest civil wars and is now a vibrant land of 20 million people, with one of Africa's fastest growing economies and a treasure trove of natural wonders. One of these jewels is the Bazaruto Archipelago, home to dugongs, humpback and minke whales, more than 100 coral species, and five turtle species.

As WORLD WIDE FUND's project director in the Bazaruto Archipelago, which last year was named the country's newest national park, he spends much of the year living away from his family at the park's headquarters and managing a group of staff and WWF guards, who patrol the waters of the archipelago in a bid to stop illegal fishing practices.

The resolution also points out that conserving coral reefs is even more vital given the recent findings of the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre's Atlas on Coral Reefs. This found that coral reefs are less abundant than had previously been supposed. It is estimated that 60 per cent of coral reefs could disappear by 2030 without urgent action.

The World Wide Fund for Nature, known internationally by its panda logo, is a key player in the global effort to protect diversity on Earth. Now in its fourth decade, WWF works in more than 100 countries.

The Bazaruto Archipelago consists of five islands (Bazaruto, Santa Carolina, Benguera, Mararuque and Bangue), with a combined land area of 156 square kilometers. It lies between the latitudes of 21 30 - 22 10 S and 35 22 - 35 30 E, between the towns of Vilanculo and Inhassoro. The islands are orientated approximately north/south between 30 and 35 kilometers offshore from the Mozambican coastline, and are probably sections of a former sandy peninsula connected to the mainland.

Mozambique is one of the larger countries in the world with 10 provinces and a coastline of 2500 km.


A vast new marine nature reserve has been approved in the Indian Ocean in a move that offers new hope to some of the region's most spectacular coral reefs, wildlife including the enigmatic

dugong or 'elephant of the sea' and local communities that depend on the sea for their livelihoods

The Government of Mozambique has declared the entire Bazaruto Archipelago a protected area. At 1,400 square kilometres, it will now rank among the largest marine National Parks in East Africa if not the world.

Dugongs, or sea cows as they are sometimes called, are marine animals which can grow to about three metres in length and weigh as much as 400 kilograms. They are the only marine mammals in Australia that live mainly on plants. The name sea cow refers to the fact that they graze on the seagrasses, which form meadows in sheltered coastal waters. As dugongs feed, whole plants are uprooted and a telltale-feeding trail is left.    Dugongs are more closely related to elephants than to marine mammals such as whales and dolphins, but their closest living aquatic relatives are the manatees. Manatees are aquatic mammals that live in freshwater rivers and coastal waters of West Africa, the Caribbean, South America and the southern United States (Florida). Another close relative was Steller’s sea cow, previously found in the northern Pacific. It was hunted to extinction in the 1700s by sealers for its meat. It grew almost three times as long as the dugong and fed on large algae (kelp).

Dugongs inhabit shallow, tropical waters throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Most of the world’s population of dugongs is now found in northern Australian waters between Shark Bay in Western Australia and Moreton Bay in Queensland.

Life in the sea

Dugongs swim using their whale-like fluked tail and they use their front flippers for balance and turning. Their movements are often slow and graceful. Early explorers and sailors believed that they were mermaids because of their streamlined bodies and the large teats at the base of their flippers.

They have a rounded head with small eyes and a large snout. The nostrils are at the top of the snout and, like mammals, dugongs must surface to breathe. However, unlike other aquatic mammals such as some whales, dolphins and porpoises, dugongs cannot hold their breath under water for very long. It is generally for only a few minutes, especially if they are swimming fast.

Dugongs have poor eyesight but acute hearing. They find and grasp seagrass with the aid of coarse, sensitive bristles, which cover the upper lip of their large and fleshy snout. Small tusks can be seen in adult males and some old females. During the mating season, male dugongs use their tusks to fight each other.

Please take a quick look here:









IF you intend to come, PLease be attention this is a WORLDWILDLIFE  NATURAL RESERVE 

Tourism must continue to be monitored on BAZARUTO ISLAND. Invasive species, including rats, mice, and feral cats, have been a serious detriment to the islands’ native habitat (Johnson 1989). A "new", though extinct, species of rat, Noronhomys vespuccii, was described from Bazaruto Archipelago in 1999 (Carleton and Olson 1999). This species may have disappeared since the time of human presence on the archipelago due to the common anthropogenic causes that extirpate many vertebrate species on islands. The isolation of island ecosystems make them particularly sensitive to human pressures and the introduction of exotic species.

This page contains contact information for all the members of Project. From here you can send e-mail to project members, or visit their personal home pages.


Vegetação Marinha                                                                                 
Se comparada à costa de Moçambique, a flora marinha de Bazaruto apresenta uma riqueza de   
   diversidade de espécies. Este fato ressalta a peculiaridade do ecossistema marinho do             
   arquipélago, onde muitas espécies conseguem adaptar-se. Talvez isto se deva há abundância de         
   nutrientes básicos ao crescimento destas algas, já que correntes quentes repletas de matéria  
   orgânica sejam características do oceano indíco..                                            
   A exemplo do que ocorre em outros sistemas insulares oceânicos, a fauna terrestre do Arquipélago  
   de Bazaruto mostra uma avifauna exuberante, muito mais rica do que grupos de           
   vertebrados, tais como: anfíbios, répteis e mamíferos, representados por poucas espécies. 

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Bazaruto a  abriga as maiores colônias reprodutoras de aves entre as ilhas oceânicas do Indíco                                                   
Bazaruto Islands support large populations of migratory and resident birds,  being home to the largest bird breeding colonies of all the islands of the Tropical South Atlantic. Among the migratory species found within the island group are black noddy (Anous minutus), which builds its nest in trees and on cliffs of Fernando de Noronha using algae collected from the surface of the ocean; brown noddy (Anous stolidus); sooty tern (Sterna fuscata); fairy tern or white tern (Gygis alba), a pure white bird that lays its eggs in the forks of tree branches; red-footed booby (Sula sula); masked booby (Sula dactylatra); brown booby (Sula leucogaster); magnificent frigatebird (Fregata magnificans) and red-billed tropicbird (Phaethon aethereus) (both of which are noted for their extremely long tail feathers) (BAS 2001). Atol das Rocas shelters the largest breading colonies of Sula dactylatra and Anous stolidus in Brazil and of Sterna fuscata within the South Atlantic (Schulz Neto 1998). A few land birds are found inland on Fernando de Noronha, including the endemic Noronha vireo (Vireo gracilirostris), which is abundant in forests and trees (Johnson 1989). Other land birds are cocoruta (Elainia spectabilis) and eared dove (Zenaida auriculata).                                                                                                  
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The green turtle is listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Under the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973, the green turtle was listed as threatened except for the breeding populations in Florida and on the Pacific coast of Mexico, where it is listed as Endangered.

Green turtles continue to be heavily exploited by humans, and the destruction and loss of nesting and foraging sites is a serious problem. Humans have already caused the extinction of large green turtle populations, including those that once nested in Bermuda and Cayman Islands. The status of green turtle populations is difficult to determine because of our lack of knowledge about their life cycles. The number of nests deposited in Florida appears to be increasing, but we don't know whether this is due to an increase in the number of nests or because we have started to monitor nesting beaches more closely.

The green sea turtle is the largest hard-shelled sea turtle. Adults of this species commonly reach 100 cm in carapace length and 150 kg in mass. The average size of a female nesting in Florida is 101.5 cm straight carapace length, with an average body mass of 136 kg. Atol das Rocas is Brazil's second largest reproductive area for green turtles (Chelonia mydas) . Chelonia mydas also reproduce on Bazaruto, and juvenile hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) use the islands for feeding and growth.  Project has been monitoring areas of major concentrations of these turtles in the archipelago since 1987 (Sanches and Bellini 1999). Two species of lizards occur on the island, mabuia (Mabuya maculata), which is endemic and teju (Tupinambis teguxim), which was introduced to control rat populations, but prefers prey such as the eggs and the young of birds and turtles (BAS 2001). UNEP lists two endemic invertebrates, a wasp (Polistes ridleyi), and a species of Gammarus, endemic in lake and streams; an endemic worm lizard, (Amphisbaena ridleyi), ; and an endemic genus of Dactyloscopidae fish found in a tide pool (Johnson 1989). There are no extant indigenous mammals on Bazaruto, and no mammals at all occur on Atol das Rocas. A large school of resident dolphins are a tourist attraction of Fernando de Noronha. The waters surrounding Atol das Rocas harbor a great abundance of commercial fishes as well as lobsters, which were one cause of heavy fishing activity around the atoll in the past (Kikuchi 1999).

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