Fewer creatures on earth inspire more fascination, fear and intrigue than the shark. They also happen to be one of the most misunderstood species and thanks to researchers who have committed to studying and learning more about these apex predators in recent decades, we are finally starting to understand them a little better.
With over 500 known shark species, these large fish can be found in every ocean across the world, including, of course, the warm and biodiverse waters of Mozambique.
On a recent dive, Dr Ryan Daly from the Oceanographic Research Institute captured this video of an impressive aggregation of nine gestating Ragged-tooth sharks on the Santa Maria reefs, located in the marine component of Maputo National Park.
This section of the park is linked to iSimangaliso Wetland Park in South Africa, forming the Ponta do Ouro-Kosi Bay Transfrontier Conservation Area, the first transfrontier marine conservation area in Africa. Being one of the most important habitats for sharks in the southeast Indian Ocean, intensive conservation efforts have been implemented on both sides of this marine border, offering safe passage for these valuable sea creatures on their lengthy migration route.
Maputo National Park, co-managed by Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas and Peace Parks Foundation, is recognised as one of the top 36 most biodiverse yet endangered hotspots in the world. This means it needs reinforced protection on land and in the ocean. In addition to being a haven for sharks, the marine component of the park supports a vast array of species from endangered marine life such as dugongs, sea turtles, tropical fish, humpback whales and dolphins to banks of healthy seagrass and a kaleidoscope of coral reefs.
Funded by a €5.9 M grant from Blue Action Fund, Peace Parks Foundation is embarking on a 5-year Ecosystem-Based Adaptation programme across this significant and environmentally sensitive coastal area. The programme aims to preserve and restore uniquely diverse ecosystems and strengthen people’s ability to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Thanks to the protection of Maputo National Park’s dedicated rangers, the marine and terrestrial life found within this incredible area is now thriving.