Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Park and Reserve has made received the Blue Park for achieving the highest science-based standards for marine life protection and management. The facility was awarded the award and recognition from the Marine Conservation Institute.
Managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) joins a growing network of 21 Blue Parks around the world designed to protect and regenerate oceans biodiversity.
Kisite Mpunguti was established by the Kenyan government in 1978, and combine two areas that surround two nearby islands in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Kenya. One is the Kisite Marine National Park, and the other Mpunguti Marine National Reserve. Kisite is a no-take, fully protected area while Mpunguti allows artisanal and recreational fishing for local fishermen. Both areas host snorkeling, diving, and wildlife viewing.
Commenting on the award, Paul Wambi, Park Warden at Kisite-Mpunguti, said, “We are delighted that Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Park and Reserve has been designated a Blue Park. As Kenya Wildlife Service, we would like to thank all of our dedicated staff, local community, and partners for making Kisite-Mpunguti a beacon of hope for marine conservation. This award only serves as motivation for us to work even harder to make Kisite-Mpunguti a sustainable marine protected area that benefits both nature and humanity.”
Kisite-Mpunguti protects a number of the region’s distinctive ecosystems: mangroves, seagrass meadows, and coral reefs. This diverse area shelters a rich biodiversity of marine mammals, fish, seabirds, and sea turtles. Kisite Island is recognized as an Important Bird Area by the Birdlife International because it provides a remote breeding area. Among the marine mammal species found in these waters are dugongs, whale sharks, and sperm whales. Five vulnerable, endangered, and critically endangered sea turtle species also forage and breed in the park.
Dr. Sarah Hameed, Senior Scientist and Director of the Blue Parks initiative said, “I look forward to working with the Kenya Wildlife Service and its partners to share the story of this extraordinary new Blue Park is and how well it serves its local communities and visitors. We hope that Kisite-Mpunguti becomes an MPA that others in East Africa are modeled after as it truly protects this unique place.”