Mayotte is a group of Indian Ocean islands in the Mozambique Channel, the two main islands are Grand-terre and Petite-terre. They cover 376 km², Mayotte has a length of 160 km of coral reef surrounding one of the best lagoons on Earth. The department has a rich terrestrial and marine biodiversity of both animals and plants.
The Ambato lagoon
Covering 23ha, this wetland complex includes a saltwater lagoon separated from the ocean and is within an urban landscape. It also has mangroves of just one species, quite rare in Mayotte; a Malagasy pond heron breeding site. This site will be the object of a fight against the illegal growing of crops, restoration of the pond-herons feeding sites as well as a campaign to eradicate rats and the erection of an observation tower in order to watch-over the breeding site.
A typical habitat of tropical coasts, these forests of mangrove trees that grow on the edge of or in water serve as the Malagasy pond heron breeding site. In Mayotte, the species breeds in the mangroves at Ironi-bé, Chiconi/Mangajou, Dzoumogné and Chirongui that can extend over 650 ha. These mangroves will be protected and a rat eradication programme established there.
Lake Karihani is the only natural freshwater lake on Mayotte. It’s the species’ main feeding site, up to 112 birds were counted in November 2013 and some individuals are present most of the time.
Built to provide drinking water, these manmade, artificial structures fill with rain water in the rainy season and alleviate the problem of a lack of water in the rivers in the dry season. They are of interest for their biodiversity, attracting many birds and are the habitat for many particular plants.
Other than their role in protecting the coast and being a reservoir of water this habitat is also a favourable feeding ground for birds, notably the Malagasy pond heron. The main wet meadows are at Malamani, Tsimkoura and Tsararano.