Celebrating Marine Life in the Indian Ocean

Its sea creatures are doing swimmingly!

Portrait of an Indian Ocean bottlenose dolphin in blue water

(Four Oaks / Shutterstock.com)

From its pristine white sand beaches and turquoise water to its abundance of marine life, Bazaruto Archipelago National Marine Park (BANMP) is one of Mozambique’s most breathtaking sites of natural beauty. But this gorgeous Indian Ocean nature haven is much more than a feast for the eyes. It is Africa’s oldest protected marine area, and it recently celebrated the major milestone of 50 years in existence.

According to NGO African Parks, BANMP boasts a rich array of wildlife, including whales, manta rays, turtles, dolphins, and several thousand species of fish. The majestic dugong, a marine mammal that’s a cousin to the North American manatee and classified as a vulnerable species, also calls BANMP home. 

Established in 1971 by the Mozambican government, the move classified the five island archipelago as a designated protection area. Thanks to this forward-thinking decision, the area remains a beautiful and safe habitat for countless sea creatures.

In 2017, BANMP entered into a 25 year partnership agreement with the Mozambican government’s new initiative, the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC) to further develop the park as a site for tourism and ensure its future. Three of BANMP’s islands are home to some 5,000 people, many of whom are dependent on the area’s natural resources for their livelihoods.

As part of the partnership, BANMP and ANAC trained 53 locals as park rangers, who help guide visitors and stop activities harmful to the park, such as illegal large-scale fishing. The program provides people with bankable job skills and enables them to take an active role in environmental protection.

BANMP manager Armando Guenha praised the partnership in a statement, saying it had been a critical help for empowering local people and preserving the area’s ecological diversity. “We were honored to partner with ANAC… to assist them in realizing their vision of ensuring that this significant landscape be adequately protected long into the future,” he said.

“This is a unique park where thousands of people are dependent on it being managed and protected, because it supports their livelihoods – from the food it produces, to the jobs it creates. It is our privilege to be working with the Government of Mozambique to help protect this profoundly important ocean gem, something they saw worth protecting 50 years ago,” he added.

While the site might be best known for its stunning beauty, the real treasures of BANMP are far more than what meets the eye. The park’s success in preserving its ecological balance and natural resources has ensured the future of both the people and animals who call it home. 

Through a 50-year-old commitment to conserving this gem off Africa’s eastern coast, Mozambique has made a forward-looking decision that will positively impact the environment for generations to come.

Celebrating a New Dolphin Prototype That May Just Change History
The Forever Animal Haven With a Beautiful Mission
Kenya is Launching its First Wildlife Inventory