Environment and Biodiversity

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Partnership with Endangered Species International Scoping Survey in Timor-Leste
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Environment and Biodiversity

Partnership with Endangered Species International

CNCo partners Endangered Species International (ESI) in South Mindanao in the Philippines on mangrove and coastal reef conservation and to protect the endangered Philippine forest turtles. Under this partnership, ASSM volunteers (who are CNCo seafarers) work in the field alongside the ESI on various conservation and community engagement activities. The volunteers made two field trips in 2016 to the Mt. Matutum Protected Landscape.

Protecting our environment

As part of the Sustainable Development programme, CNCo partnered the Endangered Species International in South Mindanao, The Philippines, on mangrove and coastal reef conservation and to protect endangered Philippine forest turtles.

In March, five of CNCo’s sea staff volunteered five days of their time enhancing the habitat of forest turtles and protecting the environment. One of the first activities upon the team’s arrival at the Tupi Municipal was a radio interview. They were invited to talk about the purpose of their trip and through the media, encouraged the community to do their part to protect endangered species and their habitat.

On the second day, the team started at Barangay Cebuano which is home to around 300 planted trees. Their task was to clear and slash cogon grasses to prevent nutrient competition and to install tree guards to protect the trees from animals such as cows, goats and wild pigs. The team installed around 75 tree guards!

On the third day, the team worked on soil potting in preparation for wildlings planting and watered the planted trees at Sitio Bagong Silang. The next day, the team climbed Mt Matutum to collect tree wildlings to be potted for planting. Around 550 tree wildlings were collected and potted. That night, they conducted a freshwater turtle habitat assessment along the river of Sitio Bagong Silang.


Scoping Survey in Timor-Leste

CNCo supported Conservation International, a global nature non-government organisation (NGO) and the government of Timor-Leste to carry out a cetacean research and capacity building of key stakeholders in Timor-Leste in October 2016. This enabled a baseline to be drawn up to inform the developing whale/ dolphin watching industry in Timor-Leste and to identify species needs especially during the annual migration period. The survey and training workshops were a valuable contribution towards Timor-Leste’s establishment of eco-tourism and helped to enhance the country’s conservation efforts.


Advancing ecotourism and marine conservation in Timor-Leste

CNCo supported Conservation International, a global nature non-government organisation (NGO) and the government of Timor-Leste to carry out a cetacean research and capacity building of key stakeholders in Timor-Leste in October 2016. This enabled a baseline to be drawn up to inform the developing whale/dolphin watching industry in Timor-Leste and to identify species needs, especially during the annual migration period.

The Cetacean Scoping Survey identified 11 species in 25 pods consisting of over 2,000 individual whales and dolphins. Two species were newly recorded. Many of the pods contained more than one species and at times comprising more than 500 individuals. These superpods are one of the extraordinary features of the cetacean migration north of Timor-Leste and a very unique phenomenon observable so close to shore.

The Timor-Leste government, Conservation International and local partners identified a high need for further research to ensure correct management of the waters by all users (eco-tourists, fishermen, ships in transit, etc.) during the mass migration and to underpin the design of a Sustainable Ecotourism Plan for the country.

Apart from the Scoping Survey, a two-day Operator Training Course was held to introduce the participants to international best practices for whale watching. The group consisted of local whale watching guides, fishermen and business people. An open Whale Watching Guidelines Workshop was held on the last day to introduce government officials, stakeholders, and communities to the Pacific Whale Watching Guidelines, with a view to developing a set of Timor-Leste-specific guidelines.

These survey and training workshops were a valuable contribution towards Timor-Leste’s establishment of eco-tourism and helped to enhance the country’s conservation efforts.

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Above: Spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris), Timor-Leste. Credit: Grant Abel.