The Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest body of water on Earth at more than 6,000 miles wide and covering 13% of the world's surface. It is home to 5,000 species of fish, many of which only exist in the Indian Ocean. But it is also an ocean under threat from global issues such as over-fishing and climate change, which make this an ocean on the edge.
Dugong of the Bazaruto Archipelago
The Bazaruto Archipelago lies off the coast of Mozambique. Along the island chain, powerful offshore winds over thousands of years have created 100m sand dunes that act as a barrier between the elements and the mainland 20 miles to the west. In the protected waters between lives the last viable population of dugong in the western Indian Ocean.
The dugong is a marine mammal that can grow to be more than three metres long. Its diet consists largely of seagrass, hence its common name of sea cow. It is thought that the dugong's half fish/half mammal appearance may have inspired stories of the mermaid. Dugongs are particularly vulnerable to human activity.
|Importance:||This is the only viable dugong population in the western Indian Ocean.|
|Dive category:||No dive was involved. A spotter plane was used to help steer the research boat towards a group of animals.|
|Access:||The Bazaruto Archipelago is part of a National Park and its waters are protected. Although divers have encountered dugongs, the impact of close human contact on these timid creatures has not been widely studied.|