Environmental groups recognise World Mangrove Day

Participants show their support for the mangroves.

To commemorate World Mangrove Day (26 July), multiple environmental organisations came together to launch an awareness campaign, culminating in an educational kayak event last Saturday around the Safehaven area.

More than 50 interested residents attended the event organised by the Mangrove Rangers, Ambassadors of the Environment, Mangrove Education Project, and Cayman Mangrove Conservation.

In the week following World Mangrove Day, a series of educational features highlighted the true value of this ecosystem. These included the brand new Mangrove Rangers website (mangroverangers.ky), social media posts, thought-provoking videos, and content related to the Mangrove Species Conservation Law.

Kayaking is a great way to get up close and personal with this important ecosystem.

Participants learned firsthand how mangrove ecosystems function, together with their associated species, such as cassiopea, fiddler crabs, and many juvenile fish, which rely on mangrove roots to protect them while they grow.

They also learned how to classify the key types of mangroves (red, black, white), in addition to recognising their special traits. For many residents, this was their first time in a kayak and their first major lesson about this ecosystem. Many were surprised to learn that nearly 70% of Grand Cayman’s mangroves have been destroyed since the 1970s.

The new Mangrove Rangers in training will be announced at the end of the month and will begin operations in September.

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  1. All Caymanians should take interest in learning about this extremely valuable aspect of their heritage. Until recently, few here understood the connection to our reef fish populations and the mitigating effect the mangroves have against coastal storm surge. Nutrients are produced by and move from the inner mangroves to the sea, while fringing mangroves act as nursery to many reef fish species. Eco-tourism is a growing attraction for which kayak tours earn rave reviews.