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Save dugongs & sea turtles in the Indian Ocean!

by Smart Earth Network
Save dugongs & sea turtles in the Indian Ocean!
Save dugongs & sea turtles in the Indian Ocean!
Save dugongs & sea turtles in the Indian Ocean!
Save dugongs & sea turtles in the Indian Ocean!
Save dugongs & sea turtles in the Indian Ocean!
Save dugongs & sea turtles in the Indian Ocean!
Save dugongs & sea turtles in the Indian Ocean!
Save dugongs & sea turtles in the Indian Ocean!
Save dugongs & sea turtles in the Indian Ocean!
Save dugongs & sea turtles in the Indian Ocean!
Save dugongs & sea turtles in the Indian Ocean!
Save dugongs & sea turtles in the Indian Ocean!
Save dugongs & sea turtles in the Indian Ocean!
Save dugongs & sea turtles in the Indian Ocean!
Dugong
Dugong

Smart Earth Network has partnered with Philippino fishermen and conservationists to revolutionise endangered dugong conservation.

The success of our Philippine-based project designed to save IUCN red-listed dugongs in the West Pacific has been significantly boosted by so many kind donations and the tireless involvement of our partners. Since the start of our campaign in mid-2015, significant progress has been made.  We can now consider that conservation of these fragile creatures is effectively being facilitated thanks to the comprehensive picture of the dugong population that is being built up thanks to the solution that SEN has helped establish. This in turn enables targeted conservation activities to be put into practice and correctly monitored.

Let’s remember how it all started.

Peaceful seagrass grazing dugongs are a symbol of happiness and good luck in the Philippines. But their population is diminishing and local fishermen are almost the only ones to observe them now. Dugongs are under threat, due to poaching, entanglement in large fishing nets and loss of habitat. Working with local NGO Community Centred Conservation (C3), SEN developed an efficient and cost-effective monitoring system which allows local fishermen to take photos and automatically record the location, time and date of dugong sightings by using a specially developed app on a smart phone.

Our previous report explained that difficulties were encountered in transferring the photos from some of the fishermen’s mobile phones to the database. We are pleased to announce that C3 and Cherry Mobile have overcome this and maps are now updated and functional. A live database of the numbers, locations and threats to the dugong is established, the local community is engaged and practices put in place to best assist the protection of this vulnerable dugong population.

Simon Hodgkinson, SEN’s founder, comments, ‘The Dugong app is far more effective and covers a much wider area giving us data on a daily basis. It is much less costly and allows fishermen to possess smart phones which very few could afford without them being associated with the project. Far from being the enemy of environmentalism, technology can provide a level of assistance which we could only dream of a few years ago’.

SEN would like again to thank everyone who has shown concern for this project. Conservation work is never finished and dugong and sea turtle populations remain fragile. This project may be a little drop in the (Indian) ocean, but its development and success represents an enormous opportunity for future involvement in other conservation areas and for other endangered species. The Dugong project is already showing the way - technology and conservation can unite to open a new era of environmental action.

SEN is looking at challenges from other conservation organisations which could benefit in the same way as the Dugong Project in the Philippines. The app is being integrated into an anti-poaching reporting app which will soon be tested and deployed in a national park in Africa. There will soon be more news on this on our website.

Because you have expressed your interest in this project and your concern for nature conservation, please link up to the SEN website and see more updates on conservation issues and technical ideas to help preserve nature. If you wish you can join us (there’s no fee or engagement). Keep in touch with SEN via our website: www.smartearthnetwork.com

the Dugong legend
the Dugong legend

Links:

Training for local fishermen
Training for local fishermen

The project is growing and we have two new updates to report to you.

As the project has developed and more fishermen are involved, the local telecoms company, Cherry Mobile, has been training them to use their new mobile phones. They have recorded the delightful and informative video attached. But things do not always go as easily as we would hope!  We have encountered difficulties in transferring the photos from some of the fishermen’s mobile phones to the database. It is reported that fishermen have hundreds of sightings but many of these data points remain on their phones. The download is supposed to be done remotely using the 3G capabilities of the phone. In some of the villages however, the 3G is not of sufficient quality to enable the downloads.

The local NGO, C3, is working with Cherry Mobile to address this, and until it can be resolved data is collected manually from the phones by downloading onto a computer. Please see C3's fascinating video about dugongs attached. This sort of teething problem is to be expected but the key principal of having local fishermen be the eyes of the conservationists is proving to be both scientifically successful and gratifying for its users.

Meanwhile we are excited to announce that the work undertaken on this app is turning out to be useful for other conservation purposes. The app is being integrated into an anti-poaching reporting app which will soon be tested and deployed in a national park in Africa. More about that later. Watch out for our next report! 

Links:

Artisanal fishermen on the island of Busuanga in the Philippines have started sighting dugongs on their fishing trips and dugong mapping is underway!

Mobile phones with the app have been distributed to the fisherman who simply take a geo-located photo when they see a dugong. The local NGO, Community Centred Conservation (C3), has been able to start building a precise and comprehensive picture of the dugong population. The app also tracks the fishing boats to identify dugong-free areas of sea, which allows more targeted conservation activities to be put into practice. Detailed maps are kept confidential by SEN and C3 in order to protect the dugongs from poaching.

Thanks to this campaign, the database is being built up, the local community is engaged and new practices will be identified to better assist the protection of this vulnerable dugong population.

“Technology and conservation can unite to open a new era of environmental action” explains Simon Hodgkinson, founder of SEN. Because you have expressed your interest in this project and your concern for nature conservation, please link up to the SEN website and join (there’s no fee or engagement) and see more updates on conservation issues and technical ideas to help preserve nature.

Links:

Local fishermen at campaign to save dugongs
Local fishermen at campaign to save dugongs

Artisanal fishermen on the island of Busuanga in the Philippines tell how sighting a dugong brings happiness and good luck to their community. Folklore around these legendary mermaids is still entrenched in their local tradition. But dugong are particularly vulnerable to capture in fishing nets and since these gentle mammals cannot stay for long underwater without coming up to breathe, entanglement can very often be fatal.

So local fishermen are delighted to participate in the project run by Smart Earth Network and local NGO Community Centred Conservation (C3) which, thanks to this funding campaign, has not only given them mobile phones which very few could afford, but more essentially has created a specially-developed app on these phones that they can use to record sightings of dugong.

By simply pressing on the app logo, the fishermen take a photo which is sent along with geo-positioning data to a central database, allowing a precise and comprehensive picture of the dugong population to be built up. The app also tracks the fishing boats to identify dugong-free areas of sea, which in turn allows more targeted conservation activities to be put into practice. A database of the numbers, locations and threats to the dugong is being established, the local community is engaged and practices put in place to best assist the protection of this vulnerable dugong population.

Technology and conservation can unite to open a new era of environmental action” explains Simon Hodgkinson, founder of Smart Earth Network. Also focusing on reducing the accidental but all too frequent by-catch of sea-turtles and dolphins, SEN has already identified a team to find a low-cost producer of devices to attach to artisanal fishing nets that warn off these large and endangered species.

Because you have expressed your interest in this project and your concern for nature conservation, please link up to the SEN website www.smartearthnetwork.com and join (there’s no fee or engagement) and see more updates on both conservation issues and technical ideas to help preserve nature.

Local celebration of dugong project launch
Local celebration of dugong project launch
 

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Organization Information

Smart Earth Network

Location: London - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @smartearthnet
Smart Earth Network
Sarah LaBrasca
Project Leader:
Sarah LaBrasca
London, London United Kingdom

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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