Ngerkeklau Island

June 2017

Conservation benefit: Permanent protection of 37 acres (22 terrestrial, 15 marine, including seagrass) dugong and sea turtle habitat; environmental education

Community benefit: Construction of pier, plant nursery, storage for educational equipment

The small Micronesian nation of Palau is extraordinarily rich in marine biodiversity. This project will protect Ngerkeklau, an uninhabited 22-acre island just off the northern tip of Palau’s main island, and the waters surrounding it.

Hawksbill and green sea turtles nest on the island. The island is also home to the endangered Micronesian megapode. These unusual birds use their sturdy legs to scrape together big mounds of organic material. Then they incubate their eggs inside, where the decaying vegetation keeps the eggs warm.

But the most ecologically significant creature is the endangered dugong, the manatee’s Pacific cousin, which grazes in the island’s seagrass. Palau has the region’s only population of dugongs. This population is exceptionally vulnerable, for two reasons: It is both small (only a few hundred individuals) and isolated (hundreds of miles from other populations).

Our local nonprofit partner, the Ebiil Society, uses an environmental educational center on the island, training teachers and kids. It limits access to the island to those with valid research or educational objectives. The Seacology grant will be used to build a pier, a small storage facility for field equipment, and a plant nursery. The nursery will aid the reforestation programs Ebiil Society has run since 2013, training women to restore degraded land. The pier will prevent damage to the seagrass beds around the island. Currently, people coming to the island must wade through the seagrass for 50 to 100 meters to get to shore.

Full or partial funding for this project provided by
Project Updates
May 2019
The island and a 100-meter coastal zone around it are now officially protected areas. Our nonprofit partner, the Ebiil Society, continues to monitor native plant plots as well as dugong and bird...
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December 2018
Seacology’s field representative in Micronesia, Simon Ellis, visited this site in November and reports that the project is nearly complete. The pier, plant nursery, and storage room have all...
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May 2018
Monitoring of native plant plots, dugong populations, and bird populations is continuing. The plant nursery has been built and is being used to support forest education with schools and local...
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January 2018
The State of Ngarchelong’s governor signed an executive order designating the island and a 100-meter coastal zone as a protected area. Our nonprofit partner, the Ebiil Society, will work with...
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