Massive egg exploitation endangers the largest nesting population of green sea turtles in Indonesia
(Images: Left: Egg collector on Sangalaki. Middle: turtle eggs are sold on a market booth. Right: Stuffed hawksbill turtles are illegally but openly offered on Derawan.)
Solution: Our protection project in the Derawan archipelago
As soon as sufficient funding is secured the Turtle Foundation intends to extend its protection program to two other islands (Belambangan and Sambit) that are unprotected so far. This would increase the rate of protected nests to more than 90%, and would considerably increase the prospective long-term survival of the population. Further, the nearby large coral reef of Muaras could be patrolled via a new ranger station on Belambangan. Thus, the Turtle Foundation would come closer to another of its project goals, which is the protection of all local habitats of the sea turtles, including the feeding grounds in the seagrass meadows and coral reefs, as well as the nesting beaches. This has become more important since a relatively new threat appeared: the massive poaching and looting by foreign fishermen, which can only be countered by increased control of the marine habitats. Here, the Turtle Foundation can provide considerable support to the local authorities by provision of infrastructure (boats and ranger stations on uninhabited islands) and staff.
(Images: Left: Ranger on Bilang-Bilangan starting for a beach monitoring patrol. Middle: As a result of our protection, this turtle was able to nest undisturbed. Right: Nests endangered by inundation are rescued in hatcheries by our rangers.)
The protection of the marine habitats dnot only contributes to sea turtle protection, but will benefit the conservation of the entire marine biodiversity, on which the local people depend. Because they make their living predominantly from fishing, the sustainable use of natural resources is equivalent to securing the livelihood for the next generations. Therefore, environmental education and public relations are of utmost importance to help the local community to appreciate the complex relationships within marine ecosystems. In addition, it is of paramount importance to develop alternative opportunities for income for the local population, including potential ecotourism projects.
Finally, the Turtle Foundation recognizes collection and publication of scientific data and insights as an important task to improve the so far scarce knowledge about life and population biology of the sea turtles in the Derawan archipelago. This would offer further possibilities for setting up successful conservation programs.
- Project start in 2000
- Largest green turtle nesting rookery in Indonesia
- Main activity: Continuous monitoring of nesting beaches
- Currently two of the five most important nesting islands are fully protected
- About 6000 nests are protected from egg poaching annually
- Continuation of the beach monitoring program
- Inclusion all important nesting islands in our protection program
- Environmental education and alternative income for the local population
- Scientific research