January 28, 2021
Coral Reef Awareness from East Africa to Myanmar
- as seen by -Sarah Markes and Tim Davenport
The protection of coral reefs is a key focus of Wildlife Conservation Society marine programs in Tanzania, Kenya, Mozambique, and Madagascar. These hugely productive ecosystems are crucial to the survival of thousands of marine species and the well being of coastal communities. Healthy coral reefs provide food, protect coastlines from erosion, support livelihoods based on tourism and trade, and thus, are also essential to national economies. Yet coral reefs the world over are threatened by unsustainable fishing, pollution, and the impacts of climate change.
WCS has been studying tropical reefs for decades, including over a hundred sites in the western Indian Ocean. This work provides insight into the state of reefs, the impacts of human activities, and the conservation measures needed to protect them. It also underpins WCS’s work with governments and communities to foster sustainable marine resource management.
Raising awareness of the importance of reef ecosystems and the benefits of protecting them is crucial. To this end, WCS Tanzania created educational posters to illustrate the various ‘ecosystem services’ of coral reefs contrasted with the negative impacts of damaging them. In collaboration with Chumbe Island Coral Park’s excellent education team in Zanzibar, the posters are used in Swahili in Tanzania and have been translated into Portuguese for use in Mozambique and Burmese for use in Myanmar.
Other posters in the series cover the importance of sharks for coral reefs, coral reefs and climate change, and the ecosystem services of mangroves. Pdfs of the posters are available from email@example.com.