Facebook pages, websites, education materials – Vanuatu goes ‘dugong’ on conservation

August 22, 2016

A meeting of the NFC was convened on 29th March 2016. VESS presented a report on the activities that had taken place under the VU1 project.

In addition to the scheduled NFC meeting, Vanuatu Department of Tourism (DoT) requested a meeting to discuss dugong and turtles protection in relation to a new policy on biodiversity friendly standards for tourism operators in Vanuatu; the meeting aimed to get an advice from VESS on what minimum standards could be set regarding wildlife, including dugongs and turtles and on responding to reports of turtles and dugongs being kept in captivity for tourism.

Following these discussions, VESS and DoT will engage the relevant government departments at a Director level and invite them to the next NFC meeting, which will be followed by a workshop with all stakeholders. This activity is expected to provide guidelines/precautionary measures and behaviour for tourism operators, and tourists when interacting with turtles and dugongs.

VESS was also actively promoting the two projects through different media channels. The press was informed of the launch of the Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project website via a press release.

The VESS Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/vanuatuconservation) featured posts of dugong sightings including a video of a rare footage of a suckling dugong calf. VESS has also posted photographs of the survey team at work.

The VESS website (http://www.vanuatuconservation.org) has been launched and features a page of current projects including details about the Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project.

The educational materials, which were produced with a small grant from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) and that will be distributed and used during this Project are also available to download at the VESS website.

The Vanuatu Times featured two articles about dugongs and seagrass in March. The articles were developed with contributions from VESS.