Greetings! I have some interesting news for you. Western Australia’s World Heritage area of the Exmouth Gulf and Ningaloo Coast are now hanging in the balance as scientists plead for additional conservation efforts. This area supports approximately 2,000 species of fauna and of course my first cousin, the dugong. Dr. Ben Fitzpatrick, Hope Spot Champion and Director of Oceanwise Australia explains, “this site is one of the last stable populations on Earth [for the dugong]! This popular area attracts tourists from every corner of the globe who enjoy snorkeling along the coral reef. They take pride in witnessing, one of the world’s most important humpback whale refuges, swim with the world’s largest fish – the incredible Whale shark, [along with] many other creatures including manta rays, turtles, and rare dolphins. It is also an internationally recognized wilderness ecotourism destination with the uninterrupted natural vistas free of industrial activities.”
Dr. Fitzpatrick continues and says, “In recognition of its wilderness value, socio-economic significance and its vulnerable status, Exmouth Gulf, along with Ningaloo Reef, has been declared a Hope Spot by international marine conservation nonprofit Mission Blue. Exmouth Gulf is so rich in biodiversity, with more fish species than Ningaloo Reef, at about 850 species; not to mention other charismatic threatened and endangered species including 63 species of sharks and rays, 8 species of whale and dolphin; it’s even a global hotspot for rare and endangered sea snakes.”
Legendary oceanographer and leader of Mission Blue, Dr. Sylvia Earle elaborates, “This area really rocks– looking at the world as a whole, humpback whales have chosen this place as a nursery area, and there’s a mangrove forest that’s really special along the coast. What’s not to love about this place?
Darren Kindleysides, CEO of Australian Marine Conservation Society adds, “Despite its very high conservation values, Exmouth Gulf has disproportionately low conservation protection. As one of the world’s last intact arid-zone estuaries, and a system supporting more than 850 species of fish and elasmobranchs, it supports many species listed as rare, endangered, or vulnerable including sea turtles, dolphins, dugongs, manta rays, sawfish, sea snakes and migratory birds.”
Dr. Sylvia Earle adds,“It’s not usual, in fact, it’s the way of the world these days that humans are increasingly encroaching on what remains of natural wild places. There’s a limit to what we can do and still have a planet that works in our favor. This is a treasure worth standing up for and fighting for, and to maintain the integrity of the system that transcends these short-term gains.”
If you are in Florida and you see a sick or injured manatee, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: 1-888-404-FWCC. They are the folks who are responsible for rescuing us in Florida.
Here’s the Save the Manatee Clublink to learn more about manatees …
Here’s a cool link for you to learn more about how we’re rescued and brought into rehabilitation …
~ Kobee Manatee