These three small villages on on the northern coast of West Papua, are home to about 80 people–and many sea turtles.
The villages are the traditional owners of beaches where endangered leatherback, hawksbill, olive ridley, and green sea turtles nest. The beaches cover about 1,137 acres (460 hectares) along a 23-km shoreline. They are officially part of the Abun Regional Marine Conservation Area, but there is little active management.
Villagers implemented a protection program for the Jamursba Medi turtle-nesting beach over a five-year period, from 2006 to 2010. In return, during that time, Seacology gave scholarships to 22 students from Saubeba and Warmandi. These bright young people, whose parents mostly engage in subsistence fishing and farming, attended high school or college in the provincial capitals of Manokwari or Sorong. The program turned out to be a very good way to secure active, village-wide participation in protecting the beaches from turtle egg predators and poachers.
A group of committed individuals, active in turtle research, conservation, and village outreach, propose to continue this partnership. The three villages will protect 267 acres (108 hectares) for three to five years. Five high school students and two college students will receive three years of full scholarships. Each year, the students’ report cards, as well as village compliance with the turtle nest protection agreement, will determine whether the scholarships are renewed.