New Research: Critically Endangered Dugongs of East Africa

A new study, ‘Focused and inclusive actions could ensure the persistence of East Africa’s last known viable dugong subpopulation’ by Trotzuk et. al, seeks to understand trends in abundance and distribution of the Bazaruto dugongs over the past two decades, in order to assess their vulnerability and extinction risk.

The dugongs of Mozambique’s Bazaruto Archipelago are the last known viable subpopulation along the East African coast, and are thus of significant biological, economic and cultural value. This study sets out to provide an updated assessment of the status of dugongs in the Bazaruto seascape and to determine the subpopulation’s vulnerability and extinction risk.

The study also offers specific recommendations for conserving this unique and globally important dugong subpopulation. These include, developing alternative livelihoods and sustainably managed small-scale fisheries in collaboration with local communities and other stakeholders, the expansion and management of formal marine protected areas in the region, and classification as a critically endangered East African dugong subpopulation within the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

“These types of actions are urgently needed and will require coordinated collaboration in order to prevent the extirpation of dugongs throughout East Africa. Luckily, public and private stakeholders such as local communities, government authorities, and NGOs are currently well positioned to partner on a variety of projects and succeed in delivering meaningful results that will protect this unique dugong subpopulation.
(Evan Trotzuk, Research and Monitoring Coordinator, African Parks – Parque Nacional do Arquipélago do Bazaruto)

Co-authors Evan Trotzuk, Vic Cockcroft and Almeida Guissamulo are long standing partners of the Dugong MoU and currently collaborate on the Bazaruto Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project, supported by the CMS Dugong MoU and Foundation Segré.

The full article is available to read here

Trotzuk, E. et. Al (2022) Focused and inclusive actions could ensure the persistence of East Africa’s last known viable dugong subpopulation. Conservation Science and Practice, e12702.