Conducting dugongs surveys and delivering conservation messaging in Vanuatu

August 22, 2016

VU1 Project Update: Jan thru June 2016

VESS continued to collect information on dugongs and local communities, using the CMS Dugong MoU questionnaire, which had been adjusted to the context of Vanuatu and translated in Bislama (the local language in Vanuatu). Eighty-one surveys were conducted until the end of this reporting period (including 16 that were conducted in the previous reporting period), targeting communities on Efate and close surrounding islands. The aim of the project is to complete a minimum of 250 questionnaires by the end of the global Project. To date, 32% of the minimum number of questionnaires has been completed.

The contact to communities during the conducting of the survey was used to organise workshops, at which local people were made aware of the dugong and their habitats, and of the importance to protect them.

A set of awareness raising materials, developed by VESS with funding from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), was disseminated at the workshops. This included booklets about dugongs and seagrass and posters, one on dugongs and one on seagrass, available in English and Bislama.