USAID’s Protect Wildlife project in the Philippines joined its partners at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in a recent visit to Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary near the southern border with Malaysia to help boost marine turtle conservation efforts in the protected area.
The project and the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) held informative lectures for the Philippine Navy, Marines, Philippine National Police-Maritime Group, protected area rangers and community members to orient them to related laws and enforcement protocols for protecting marine turtles and countering poaching and trafficking of marine wildlife. They also discussed the government’s draft roadmap for conserving all five species of marine turtles found in the Philippines, as well as the creation of the Marine Turtle Protected Area Network that aims to link all habitats for nesting, foraging and breeding of marine turtles in the country.
The project then joined BMB’s communication, education and public awareness team in visiting schools in the islands of Taganak, Boaan and Great Bakkungaan to engage students in fun games and educational activities that promote positive behaviors and practices among the youth for protecting marine turtle habitats in their area.
Turtle Islands is one of the few transboundary-protected areas in the world and is a well-known breeding and nesting site for green and hawksbill turtles. Close to 243,000 hectares of this wildlife sanctuary under the Philippine territory is protected under the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System law. (Protect Wildlife)