Kitu Kiblu is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chole Mjini Conservation and Development Company Ltd. Our projects in the past 20 years the company, together with the Chole Mjini Charitable Trust, have built a kindergarten, primary school, medical center, computer center, market, women’s center and provides scholarships for secondary and tertiary studies, as well as small loans. You can read more about the activities of the company and charitable trust on the websites www.cholemjini.co.tz and www.choletrust.org
Kitu Kiblu has built a library/computer facility/English club at the Chole Island primary school with funds raised by scholars from the International School of Geneva that joined our internship program for one week. If you want to bring a school or other group talk to us about initiating an individual project especially for your group.
The founders of Kitu Kiblu, Dr. Jean de Villiers Ph.D. and Ms. Anne de Villiers M.Sc., also founding members of the Mafia Island Whale Shark Conservation Society (WHASCOS), a forum to raise awareness about whale sharks and support their conservation. WHASCOS has introduced codes of conduct, organizes stakeholder meetings, raises awareness, hosts research and lobbied the Mafia District Council to impose a fee on whale shark tourism, so that this District Authority will protect the animals from exploitation.
Despite their size and global distribution, very little is known about whale sharks. Kitu Kiblu is proud to assist and host researchers and research projects in an effort to learn more about whale sharks and we support important ongoing marine conservation efforts.
In past seasons we have hosted a team of researchers affiliated to the King Abdul University (KAUST) and the University of Queensland, funded by WWF, looking at oceanographic factors influencing the occurrence and distribution of whale sharks in the Mafia channel.
In the 2016/2017 season we hosted Dr Jesse Cochran, who specializes in the study of cartilaginous fishes, including sharks and rays. He earned his PhD in marine science from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology where he studied Red Sea whale sharks. On Mafia, he studied the local whale shark aggregation using a variety of photography and telemetry based methods to describe the sharks’ movement patterns and population structure. Kitu Kiblu interns assisted Jesse with his research.
We contribute to the global spot-pattern photo identification project, which seeks to map the migration of whale sharks. Whale shark spot-patterns are like fingerprints. They can be used to identify individuals and therefore enable one to add their location to a worldwide database. The attraction of this method is that it does not involve tagging or otherwise interfering with the animals.
Our interns also teach swimming, snorkeling and whale shark biology to high school pupils.