03 Dec Monitoring and Conserving Sea Turtles with Pokmaswas in the Sula Islands
Through ecological and socio-economic surveys in 2017, the Sula Islands were identified as home to sea turtles, in particular the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). The coast of Fatkauyon Village was indicated as a feeding location for green and hawksbill turtles, while sandy beaches across the islands were identified as nesting sites. However, turtle populations have declined worldwide, and without effective protection efforts, this decline will continue.
To support sea turtle protection regulations, CTC through the USAID SEA Project, together with other relevant partners, conducted training for Community Surveillance Groups (Pokmaswas) on conservation and monitoring of sea turtles in the Sula Islands from November 30 – December 3, 2019. The session included biological and ecological training, so local teams are better able to identify, track and protect species. This training aims to support government policies in protecting sea turtle species, integrating them into the management plan of the Sula Islands MPA in North Maluku Province.
Yairus Swabra, from the University of Papua (Unipa), presented on the biology and ecology of sea turtles, while Abraham Leleran, also from Unipa, presented on identification of sea turtle species. Discussion sessions were held with the local Pokmaswas teams to improve action plans, while field practice was held on the beaches of Fatkauyon Village, as well as in the northern areas of the islands, with all participants joining simulations of patrols and monitoring, turtle nest or egg relocation, and evaluation of turtle hatchling rate success.