17 May Innovative Billboards for Dugong Conservation in Lease Islands MPA

In April, the CTC Maluku team raised two billboards on Saparua island to further encourage participation in citizen science for the Kalesang Dugong project.

The billboards were placed at two locations: one near the beach right off ‘Dugong Point’ where dugong can be found nearly every afternoon, and another on a well-trafficked intersection in the middle of the island. Placing them was not an easy feat, to say the least. Logistical challenges consisted of shipping the billboards by truck and ferry, de- and reassembling them, digging deep for sufficient foundation, and raising the billboards using manpower. The billboards are massive: towering over 4 meters high, they can be seen from afar, and contain loads of useful information including dugong ecology, importance, threats, and national protection of the animal and its habitat.  

Perhaps the most important part of the billboard is the QR code that facilitates the entry of dugong sightings by the public. If any citizen or visitor spots a dugong from shore, they are encouraged to take a video of the animal and report the sighting to CTC by scanning the QR code. In turn, the CTC crew will contact the good Samaritan and reward them with merchandise. The Maluku team is optimistic this will further stimulate their already successful gathering of dugong data around the Lease MPA.

Writer: Casper Kuijper
Photos: Casper Kuijper

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