Tanzania’s mainland coastline, together with numerous small islands including Mafia, Zanzibar and Pemba, provides important habitats for five of the seven species of sea turtle: green, hawksbill, loggerhead, olive ridley and leatherback. Two species, the green and hawksbill turtle, nest in Tanzania. Sea Sense has established a successful community-based nest monitoring programme that is now in its 20th year and covers all major nesting sites in the country.
Dugongs were once widespread along the Tanzanian coast, but after decades of hunting for their meat and oil, the population has declined dramatically. A small population remains in the Rufiji Delta-Mafia Channel seascape due to presence of dense seagrass meadows, which is their main food source. Sea Sense has implemented a range of dugong conservation measures and remains committed to securing the future for dugong populations in East Africa.
A small population of ~ 200 whale sharks occurs off the west coast of Mafia Island. They are attracted by the availability of small sergestid shrimps, which make up most of their diet. The whale sharks are resident all year round, although they are less visible during the south-east monsoon when their prey moves further offshore. Sea Sense works with a range of stakeholders to conserve whale sharks and promote sustainable fishing and tourism activities in whale shark habitat.
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