Entries in #wildlife (20)


5 Things You Should Know About Whale  Sharks

Whale shark season is in full swing here on Mafia Island, and I’ve loved learning about them during my time here. Here’s five facts that I think everyone should know about whale sharks!

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Patrolling The Bay In Mafia Island Marine  Park

Our day starts with getting up at roughly 05:30. After getting our gear ready (notepad, binoculars, phones) we walk down to Big Blu to meet with a member of the marine park team and the boat captain. Once we have checked the boat is ready to go (fuel, lifejackets etc.) we head out into the bay, usually shortly after 06:00.

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Whale  Sharks

Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus), are the largest fish in the sea. They can grow up to a length of 20m and are thought to live up to 100 years. They feed mainly on zooplankton and tiny fish that they filters out the water.

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New Challenges In Tanzania

I had just qualified as a diving instructor in Mexico before coming to Tanzania and the course teaches you all sorts of things about being a professional scuba diver but nothing can prepare you for the extra pressure that comes with it.

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What I Don’t Have

Our Wildlife Conservation Intern Paige sums up the modern conveniences that she doesn't have whilst living on camp but how these are massively outweighed by all of her amazing experiences

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Turtle Hatching On Juani Island

Juani Island is the biggest Island next to Mafia Island. It's was quite the adventure getting,  taking a boat which took about 45min from Utende. We landed on the west-side of the Island which still faces the the bay so we had to march on foot to the other side of Juani to get to the side which faces the Indian Ocean.

After half an hour of trekking through the dense forest of Juani Island, we reached the beach and the side where the turtles hatched. During our first experience of hatching turtles we saw the shortcut species of Hawksbill turtles. After a short introduction about the turtle population on Mafia-Island, our tour guide and his colleagues started to dig the hatched turtles out of the nest. After orientating they started crawling down the beach which definitely took its time because Hawksbill turtles are rather weak and slow when they hatch.

After about 20 minutes the first ones finally reached the water. Although there was very little swell (if any at all), it was pretty hard for them to reach deeper water because they often got thrown back on the beach by the smallest of ripples. After reaching a depth of half a metre they were able to swim into the ocean. Now we were able to take pictures of them and swim around them. On this day we might have seen around 10 turtles which managed to get into the ocean. Unfortunately the guides dug around 10 more dead eggs out of the nest which did not survive.

On our second trip to Juani Island we landed on a different spot which was quicker to reach with our boat. After a longer walk over Juani we came to a different beach on the east-side were the guides located a nest, this time Green turtles! These were way stronger and quicker than the Hawksbills and this made watching them more interesting as they sped towards the beach. Even though the distance to the ocean might have been the same, the Green turtle hatchlings reached the water in less than 5 minutes.

At first we were afraid that the strong waves hitting the beach might be a big problem for the turtles. Fortunately it wasn’t. The turtles were strong and fast enough to reach deeper water in seconds. Moreover they were really strong and fast swimmers which made it hard to follow them without fins. In about 20 minutes we’ve seen around 30-40 green turtles running down the beach and reaching the sea. All in all it was very interesting to see the difference between the two species. Both trips were very cool but personally I definitely preferred the second one with the Green turtles over the Hawksbills because it was quite fun to watch these tiny little Green turtles running over the beach.

By Vincent Struppler - Research Assistant

Photo's by Von Sebastian - Assistant Research Officer

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