10 July 2018
Threats and challenges overcome
Nine years ago, newly appointed as Marine Manager, Miguel tackled the problem of the exploitation of marine resources in the reserve head-on.
Today, nobody drives on the beach except for the marine guards who patrol the 100km stretch of coastline daily, whilst fishing and tourism activities are regulated – resulting in a significant reduction in impact on the reefs and marine life. With assistance of the Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development (MITADER) he also managed to address the issue of illegal infrastructure development on primary dunes, which was causing great disturbance to the ecosystem and erosion of dune structures.
He has grown the PPMR team from two to a staff complement of eight, plus 45 community monitors. This team polices the coastline with utmost dedication, while developing informed new regulations and legislation for the benefit of the reserve, the ecosystem and communities.
Impact, commitment and dedication
The turtle project is Miguel’s pride and joy, and is a true success story! Miguel passionately drives the turtle programme that empowers community turtle monitors to protect the more than 800 loggerhead and leatherback turtles that come to nest on the shores annually. Not only has Miguel formalised the monitoring and protection of these endangered species, but involved local business, private owners and communities to expand efforts along the whole coastline.
Leadership and inspiration
Miguel has been leading his team with exemplary precision – working alongside them day and night throughout turtle nesting season, and when most people are on vacation, Miguel manages the crowds in the popular tourist town of Ponta do Ouro.
Empowering his team is of importance to him. Miguel ensures that they are upskilled and trained as skippers and divers, thus enabling them to be better equipped to do their jobs confidently.
Through his leadership skills and ability to inspire, Miguel has fostered a focused and dedicated team of custodians of conservation, and today he oversees 1,110 km² of protected area and manages 165 staff.
An equal measure of dedication is showcased by the assistance he offers the local communities. Through his efforts, a school has been established where children are being taught to read and write in Portuguese. He also transports a doctor and clinic staff to treat people in remote villages on a regular basis and purchases and delivers food to those in need. This has greatly improved the community’s perception of and relationship with him and the rangers.
Well-liked and highly respected, Miguel believes in his work and strives to create harmony between people and nature.
From all of us at Peace Parks Foundation, congratulations Miguel! We appreciate your hard work, and we are sure, Mother Nature does too!
Did you know? The Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area (Lubombo TFCRA), established in 2002, includes four distinct transfrontier conservation areas between Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland, covering a total area of 10 029km2. The Lubombo TFCRA boasts the first marine transfrontier conservation area in Africa, the Ponta do Ouro-Kosi Bay TFCA, where Mozambique's Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve turtle monitoring programme links up with the one across the border in South Africa's iSimangaliso Wetland Park – a World Heritage Site. In June 2018, a co-financing agreement was signed by the Mozambique Government and Peace Parks Foundation to jointly develop conservation and tourism activities in Maputo Special and Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserves, that will now be managed as a single structure.
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