Good news for the ocean and the forest!
A Rocha Kenya’s field study centre is situated between Watamu marine park and the largest remnant of East African coastal forest, the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest. This means that the team is well-placed to study these amazing habitats and develop sustainable livelihoods for the people who depend upon them.
Now the team is rejoicing at the increased protection of these two sites.
Arabuko-Sokoke Forest has been included in the UNESCO Malindi-Watamu Biosphere Reserve, which until 2019 only covered the Marine National Park and Mida Creek tidal inlet. Its inclusion recognizes the delicate interconnection of the forest and ocean and their value for conservation and local people.
A large portion of Watamu Marine National Park – one of the world’s oldest Marine Protected Areas – has also been internationally recognized as an Important Marine Mammal Area (IMMA) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The area is home to a large resident population of Indo-pacific Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops aduncus and is used as a nursing ground for Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae. Seven other species of marine mammals have already been recorded here.
Both designations recognize the enormous biodiversity value around Watamu and establish measures for its future protection. Good news for the ocean and the forest!
Round photo: Jumping humpback whale in Maui, Hawaii by Dirk Kirchner (CC BY-NC-SA)