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Saubeba and Warmandi


Conservation benefit: Creation of a 2,471-acre no-take leatherback turtle nesting beach and fringing forest reserve

Community benefit: Secondary and tertiary scholarships

Date Approved: 01.2006


This project protects forest, preventing the release of greenhouse gases and reducing erosion that damages coastal and ocean ecosystems.

Saubeba and Warmandi are tiny coastal villages on the Birdhead peninsula of the New Guinea land mass, part of Indonesia. More than sixty percent of the villagers have never had any formal education, and less than three percent reach senior high school.

The two villages are close to a globally important strip of beach that hosts the largest remaining population of the highly endangered leatherback turtle. The villages have promised to fully protect, with help from the World Wildlife Fund Indonesia in Sorong, 280 acres of beach from feral animal predation and turtle egg harvesting. They will also create a 160-acre no-take forest reserve bordering the beach. (This acreage was later increased; see the October 2007 update).

Seacology will fund scholarships for village students. Five students will receive scholarships for junior high school, five for senior high school or technical school, and three for teachers’ college.

This project was renewed in 2013. In exchange for the protection of a critical leatherback turtle nesting beach, Seacology will provide scholarships for seven more students. Find more info here.

Project Updates

February 2013

This project has been renewed! Starting in 2013, Seacology is providing scholarships for seven more students in these communities in exchange for the protection of a critical leatherback turtle nesting beach.

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June 2010

As of April 2010, a total of 13 students (3 junior high, 4 senior high and 6 at the university) continue in the scholarship program. In addition, some of the remaining funds are being used to provide computer and English courses to 25 students from both Saubeba and Warmandi. This program will end in June 2010. Additionally, in February 2010, WWF outreach staff and members of school committees monitored the area that is set aside under the Seacology agreement. The result showed that there has been no forest clearing or garden opening in those areas. Since this conservation agreement works effectively as a simple win-win solution, WWF started to use the same scholarship scheme in Wau Village where 5 students have participated since January 2010. In August 2010, WWF plans to evaluate the implementation of the Seacology community conservation agreement project including potential development of a local institution to include the agreement as part of the Abun Marine Protected Area. The Abun MPA was declared in December 2005, and zoning and management of the MPA is currently under development.

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October 2009

There were remaining funds after three years of scholarships had been awarded (13 in 2006, 14 in 2007 and 14 in 2008). In addition to the scholarships, Seacology funds were also able to provide extra private lessons for the students and text books and teaching equipment for the elementary school in Saubeba. Due to the remaining funds, the project will be extended an additional two years and scholarships will be awarded in 2009 and 2010.

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June 2009

As of April 2009 a total of 14 students (5 junior high school, 4 senior high and 5 at the university) continue in the scholarship program and a final performance evaluation will take place in June 2009. Predator reduction activities continued but were suspended due to a severe earthquake in early January 2009 when communities were focused more on repairing houses. However, the activities resumed again in April. There has been no forest clearing and garden opening in the areas set aside under the Seacology agreement. Unfortunately in both mid-December and mid-January, the Bird’s Head was affected by extremely high tides combined with storms, with waves washing up to 5m above normal high tide mark. The high waves scattered turtle eggs all over the beach, the waves caused shore erosion and kept turtles from nesting. The field team estimates that 85% of nests at Warmon and Jamursba Medi were lost due to the high waves. The high waves had also damaged the trial anti-predator enclosures, which aim to protect turtle eggs from predation by feral dogs, wild boar, and monitor lizards. In general, unusual big waves continued until mid-March and made access to the beach by speed boat difficult.

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January 2009

As of November 2008, final exams showed increased academic performance for scholarship students. One recipient received a teaching certificate and plans to start teaching at a village school. A total of 15 students continue in the scholarship program, ranging from middle school age to students at the university level. Within the protected area reduction in predatory animals continues.

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October 2007

In August 2007, the village agreed to add an additional 2,031 acres of protected area to the original 440 acres. The larger protected area includes 25 kilometers of turtle nesting beach going 300 meters back into fringing forest. The scholarship committee reported that all students participating in the first year program tested well or exceptional on their annual exams.

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June 2007

As of April 2007, the local government subsidized a portion of the tuition. The village decided to use the extra funds to pay for the students to take an additional course in Math and English before final exams in June 2007. Since installing demarcation signs in the protected areas, each village elder, landowner and leader has signed a statement, ensuring their commitment to protect the nesting beach and forest reserve.

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January 2007

After three months of community-wide consultations and discussions, the first set of scholarships was distributed in July 2006. Thirteen families with students in junior and senior high school and graduate/technical school received scholarships to pay for tuition, books, uniforms and transportation. The recipients’ families provided statements pledging their commitment to protecting the turtle nesting beach and forest habitats. The villages installed demarcation signs in the protected areas in mid 2006 and are now in the process of developing methods to control predators such as wild boars on the beach, and applying for official endorsement of the village protection ordinances.

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June 2006

Community consultations regarding the villages’ agreement of the protected areas, their determination of the distribution of the scholarships, and meetings with schools to set up the scholarship process were to take place April through July 2006. The first of three years of scholarships are scheduled to be distributed in July 2006 to start the 2006-2007 school year.

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