07 Oct World Animal Day: Up Close with Sea Turtles in the Coral Triangle

In celebration of this year’s World Animal Day, CTC organized an online webinar on October 4, 2020, to raise awareness about marine conservation efforts in the newly declared Sula Islands MPA. The webinar highlighted our efforts to protect endangered and threatened marine animals, such as sea turtles.

Located in the heart of the Coral Triangle, Indonesia has six out of seven sea turtle species in the world which are classified as endangered and protected. Green and hawksbill turtles are the most widely recognized species in Indonesia.

To help to protect sea turtles in the Sula Islands MPA, CTC collaborates with the Office of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) of North Maluku Province and the Office of MMAF of Sula Islands Regency and has strengthened the capacity of local communities in turtle protection and conservation. Based on the survey conducted by CTC in 2019, three types of turtle were found in Fatkauyon Village, Sula Islands, namely the green (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), and leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) turtle. Fatkauyon Village appears to be a nesting location for green and hawksbill turtles, as large numbers of these turtles are found in the waters around the village.

The webinar was moderated by CTC Marine Conservation Adviser Marthen Welly and featured CTC Senior MPA Specialist Purwanto and CTC Conservation Coordinator, Evi Nurul Ihsan. It also featured a sea turtle weaving tutorial using coconut leaves.

During the webinar, Purwanto noted that the biggest threats to turtle populations include hunting for consumption and illegal trade, bycatch, habitat change, pollution, disease, and climate change. Evi showed how CTC collaborates with the related law enforcement partners, such as Polair, LPSPL (Loka Pengelolaan Sumberdaya Pesisir dan Laut) Sorong, and PSDKP (Pengawasan Sumber Daya Kelautan dan Perikanan) Ambon Station to conduct joint outreach to protect the sea turtle population in the Sula Islands MPA. According to Evi, people continue hunting sea turtles and their eggs because they don’t have any knowledge that the animal is protected by law.

To strengthen community capacity in handling and conserving sea turtles, CTC collaborated with the University of Papua to conduct socialization and training on sea turtle conservation for the local community and Pokmaswas (community stewardship group). The training provided the community with important knowledge on how to handle the sea turtle eggs and to secure them from predators.

Public support for MPAs has become increasingly important. CTC opened our Center for Marine Conservation in 2017 to reach out to school children, students, visitors and tourists to raise their awareness and engagement in protecting the oceans.

CTC has also developed interactive games and fun learning activities to highlight sea turtle conservation such as the sea animal weaving workshop where participants can weave sea turtles using coconut leaves, and Escape Room SOS Plastic Danger  where players can learn about the impacts of plastic pollution on sea turtles and solutions to stop these threats.

The goal of CTC is to help build local capacity for long term marine conservation in the region that harbours the most diverse coral reefs in the world. CTC has a vision, a healthy sea that enrich people and nature. While our mission is to inspire to inspire and train generations to care for coastal and marine ecosystems. We focus on training and learning programs, marine protected areas, learning networks, engage communities and inspire groups such as women and youth. With partners we scale up our work”, noted CTC Executive Director Rili Djohani, during the webinar,

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