Endangered Marine Species

Dugong Conservation

The country’s first Dugong and Sea Turtle Protected Area.

The iconic yet elusive dugong can be observed regularly around certain bays of Palawan, yet is still very much under threat, having been exterminated from many other areas of the Philippines archipelago by deliberate hunting, accidental bycatch and destruction of its feeding grounds, seagrass beds.

C3 has developed a sustainable community-run dugong conservation programme and the country’s first Dugong and Sea Turtle Protected Area in the Calamianes islands. Green sea turtles and Hawksbill sea turtles, being other charismatic and highly threated species, are found in the same zones and have been highly exploited in the past, with poaching of adults and eggs across the islands. Protection measures focus on long-term seagrass and nesting beach protection and monitoring.

C3 Philippines is pioneering drone technology with Murdoch University and National Geographic to monitor small and threatened dugong populations at low cost in developing countries and the surveys will also include sea turtle and marine mammal counts. Data generated will feed into and help fine-tune the innovative Dugong Detector technology, which was awarded a Google Challenge Prize in 2018.

C3 also acts as an advisory body to the Indigenous Tagbanwa tribes of Calawit island.

There, an informal dugong-watching programme sprung up in 2017, focusing on a particularly bold dugong, named Aban. C3 developed dugong-watching guidelines based on those used in Australia and Vanuatu and has trained a corps of community members as Bantay Dugong (Dugong Monitors). There are still many challenges to ensuring this industry does not have an adverse effect on the dugong or its fragile habitat and following a five-month research study, a set of recommendations was passed to the Indigenous council in 2018, regarding limits on visitor numbers and an equitable sharing of benefits between tour operators and local communities.

C3 is conducting a study on indigenous traditional knowledge surrounding sea turtles and implications for their conservation, also funded by National Geographic.


Contact

C3 PhilippinesSalvacion, Busuanga, Palawan, 5317 Philippines

C3 Philippines (C3PHILIPPINES INC.), in accordance with the Corporation Code of the Philippines, is registered as a non-profit organization in the Philippines under the Securities and Exchange Commission with Company Registration No. CN201115227.