Endangered Wildlife Trust – Dugong Emergency Protection Project
Marine conservation is close to SEACOM’s heart, because our submarine fibre optic cable system is intrinsically linked to the world’s oceans. Stretching for 17000kms along the ocean floor, SEACOM’s cable system has a direct impact on the various marine ecosystems it traverses. It’s important that SEACOM does everything in its power to preserve the rich marine ecosystems it co-inhabits.
This is why SEACOM provided much needed funding support to the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s ‘Dugong Emergency Protection Project’ in Mozambique’s Bazaruto Archipelago. The Dugong is a critically endangered ocean mammal. Africa’s last Dugong population (less than 200) is located within Mozambique’s Bazaruto Archipelago.
Dugongs are related to manatees and are similar in appearance and behavior. Both are related to the elephant. Dugongs graze on underwater grasses day and night. These mammals can stay underwater for six minutes before surfacing.
These languid animals make an easy target for coastal hunters, and they were long sought for their meat, oil, skin, bones, and teeth. Dugongs are now legally protected throughout their indigenous range, but their populations are still in a tenuous state.
SEACOM’s funding contribution to the EWT’s Dugong Emergency Protection Project was effectively allocated towards the following project resources:
1. Project Management support
2. Design of revised law enforcement strategy for the Bazaruto National Park
3. Collation of Situational Analysis
4. Public awareness
5. Environmental education
6. Purchasing equipment
7. Travel (JHB to Project site)
8. Enhanced law enforcement – SEACOM support allowed EWT to purchase fuel for boat-based patrols. Patrols ensure that illegal and unattended gill nets are removed from the ocean; that being the primary cause of Dugong entanglement and mortality in Bazaruto.