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To protect sea turtle nests, Indonesian village turns to traditional law

October 17, 2013

This past month marked the official opening of the sea turtle guard post near Pelilit Village on Indonesia’s Nusa Penida Island which will help villagers keep sea turtle nesting sites safe from poachers.

Of course, successful conservation requires more than just a guard post. In Pelilit, conservation rules for this beach (as well as for a nearby forest) are enforced by a system of traditional laws known as awig-awig. Though awig-awig isn’t official Indonesian law, the consequences for breaking its rules are severe: get caught once and you may be fined 100kg of rice and be forced to make a public plea for forgiveness; break the rules multiple times and you risk expulsion from the village.

As for monitoring, the guard post will be staffed according to ngayah, the system of obligatory volunteer work for village members.

See full project info here.