When we hear about wildlife conservation in Africa, the stories are typically focused on elephants in the savannah, lions roaming their range, or gorillas in the forest. We at Born Free certainly work tirelessly to protect these imperiled species. But, there is also a significant conservation effort for marine life around the coastal areas of Africa. Born Free is proud to support the work of Sea Sense: a Tanzanian organization that conducts research, monitoring, and outreach programs to protect marine life, including dugongs and sea turtles, and their habitat off East Africa's coast.
Tanzania is home to an outstanding array of marine habitats. Coral reefs and seagrass beds provide important feeding grounds for several endangered marine species, including five species of marine turtles (green, hawksbill, loggerhead, olive ridley, and leatherback), as well as dugongs, sharks, whale sharks, whales, and dolphins.
For several years, Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation have provided Sea Sense with essential support to conduct critical conservation projects. Using a grassroots approach, Sea Sense engages coastal communities in a range of initiatives, providing education and training programs in marine resource management and collecting data on the health of the marine ecosystems (including sea turtle and dugong population sizes, incidents of egg poaching, and location of foraging grounds and migratory corridors). Each of these programs is specifically designed to deliver conservation benefits for endangered marine species, as well as socio-economic benefits for coastal communities. For instance, Sea Sense encourages communities to engage in eco-tourism, which benefits tourists who visit the marine mammals, locals who utilize the revenues, and, of course, the marine life and their habitats.