Coelacanth Zone

Status year

Island of Grande Comore – the Coelacanth marine area

Beyond the importance of its ecosystem (coral reefs), the marine and coastal zone in the south-west of Grande Comore is a site of global importance. Indeed, in the seabed, the volcanic caves located near the coasts shelter the famous coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae), a living fossil, an endemic species threatened with extinction which is of ecological and scientific interest on a global scale. The interest of this site is also linked to its high attendance by whales and dolphins. In the Baie des Dauphins, the most frequently observed species are the spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris, classified as low risk), the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata, classified as low risk).

The available data indicate the presence of at least 12 species of whales in Comorian waters, including the Humpback whale (Megaptera novaengliae) which is classified as vulnerable. The Pygmy Killer Whale (Feresa attenuata) has been observed in large groups of up to 500 individuals. Mesoplodons (Mesoplodon sp.) and killer whales (Orcinus orca, classified as low risk) have also been observed in this area. The southern right whale (Eubalaena australis, classified as low risk) and the Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni) are also very often encountered in these waters.