Located off the coast of Zanzibar, private and exclusive &Beyond Mnemba Island has received substantial recognition for its many marine conservation projects.The Island is one of only two protected nesting sites for the endangered green turtle in Zanzibar. With statistics measured since 1998, an average of 34 turtles nest on the island per year, with more than a hundred hatchlings born per nest. An estimated 60 000 green turtles have been born on the island in the 17 years since the lodge team began keeping records. Mnemba is one of the top three sites for green turtle laying in Tanzania and is deemed very important to Sea Sense, a non-governmental Tanzanian organisation and the NGO that Mnemba collaborates with on data sharing and training.
The rarest antelope species in Africa, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) estimates that there are between 300 and 600 Ader’s duiker remaining in the wild. In 2005 five of these antelope were introduced to Mnemba Island and have since tripled their number, with a population of 15 now living on the island. Mnemba Island is believed to be the only place in the world where these little animals can be spotted in the wild. Working with WCS, &Beyond has collected information on the duikers’ diet and behaviour and we hope that this will allow us to improve the breeding programme, leading to a further increase in the numbers of the species.
Zanzibari suni were introduced to Mnemba Island from Jozani Forest with the aim of diversifying and increasing their population. On Mnemba, where they have no natural predators, they have been breeding twice, rather than once, every year. Over the years, more than 250 suni have been moved to 13 sites throughout Zanzibar. Suni numbers remain carefully monitored and 15 new individuals were recently introduced onto the island to dilute the gene pool.
The biggest land crab in the world, so little is known about the coconut crab that they do not even have a conservation status with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), being listed as ‘data deficient’. Mnemba Island has a small but stable population of these crabs and recently hosted two researchers from Gothenburg University in Sweden, who conducted a study of the coconut crabs at Mnemba and nearby Chumbe Island. This was the first study of its kind conducted in Africa, as any previous research has taken place in the Asia-Pacific region. The initial output of the research shows evidence of breeding behaviour among the crabs.
&Beyond Mnemba Island is one of two island lodges in the company’s stableand is one of its smallest in terms of guest numbers. By contrast, the benefits of their conservation measures and successes are substantial and far reaching.