A workshop to discover the dugongs of Madagascar

The Association des Naturalistes Environnement et Patrimoine de Mayotte, held a workshop dedicated to the dugongs of Mozambique, in association with Madagascar National Parks: the National Park of Shamalaze and the National Park of Baie de Baly.

The workshop provided an opportunity to train National Park staff ahead of conducting dugong surveys around selected coastal communities. The planned dugong surveys aim to:

  • identify target areas for dugong conservation on Madagascar’s northwest coast
  • gather information on fishing communities’ perceptions of the species
  • identify behavioral trends of dugongs

The workshop included a presentation of the survey and how to adapt it to changing local contexts. This was also an opportunity for participants to meet the meet the local communities of the Sahamalaze Park, particularly on the islands of Nosy Berafia, Nosy Valiha and Nosy Antanifaly, and gather initial information. The information obtained from this survey provides food for thought on how to better conserve the

The same survey has already been carried out in Mayotte in 2022 and in Moheli in 2023. Implementing the survey in Madagascar will enable regional coverage and the implementation of appropriate conservation measures and strategies.

Participants also had the opportunity to learn about monitoring intertidal seagrass meadows and the use of drones for aerial dugong surveys, methods that have also already been tried and tested in Mayotte and Mohéli.

During the workshop, a sample of a Malagasy dugong rib was also received. This was preserved by fishermen and shall be submitted to the ongoing Western Indian Ocean Dugong Genetics project, to help determine connectivity between dugong populations in the region.