Wetlands surrounds the Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita. We find so many mangroves around especially the Rhizophora mucronata. They are an important ecosystem as they protect our coastal areas from erosion and extreme weather events. But if you have a chance to put your mask and fins on and snorkel around the mangroves you will also be amazed by lots of sea creatures swimming around the roots, safe from their predators.
We recently hosted a group of young conservationists from Seychelles, SIDS Youth AIMS Hub- SEYCHELLES and I got to share my passion for mangroves with them. They were a group of 16 young people, all ocean lovers, and they had come to Mauritius to find out more about the Blue Economy here, including our marvelous mangroves. On the day, we started by learning about Four Seasons and the WiseOceans duties at the resort and before going in to the mangroves for a snorkel, we did a little fish identification game so we would know what to look for. Now time to take them snorkeling in the mangroves so that they can see how great it is.
We did a health and safety briefing and got kitted up. At the beginning, the visibility was not good but while snorkeling further it improved a lot and we can observe a lot of damselfish, cushion stars as well as a few invertebrates and crustaceans such as crabs. After, the snorkel, we took time to discuss about what we saw and why mangroves are so important and they are were so amazed by all the different biodiversity we have.
As well as this activity, it was World Wetlands Day on the 2nd of February. As I am based in Mauritius and we have so many wetland areas here this is an important day to raise awareness of the importance of mangroves and the threats they face. This year, the focus of the day was on how wetlands protect us from extreme weather events. As these events continue to increase in number and severity it is important we do all we can to protect these precious areas. But HOW can we protect our wetlands?
See if there are any wetlands in your area and if they are being used and overused and who depends on them. How do wetlands protect your area during extreme events? Adopt practices that ensure long-term protection of the local wetlands for everyone. Measures might include:
- Controlling illegal fishing and dumping.
- Clear rubbish from the wetlands, and unblock streams and rivers
- Organize or join a wetland clean up
- Participate in any action that can protect the wetland