As part of the ongoing World Lecture Series of the University of the Philippines-Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology (UPIESM), a two (2) day technical and interactive workshop on research relevant to Dugong (Dugong dugon) conservation was held at the IESM Auditorium from August 7-8, 2017.   The workshop was participated in by DENR-BMB, conservation partners such as C3 Philippines Inc., research students and marine managers.    A respected dugong conservationist in the person of Dr. Helene Marsh from the James Cook University of Queensland, Australia presented the challenges vis-à-vis conservation of this critically endangered sea mammal.

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Photo courtesy of Dr. Helene Marsh

Participants to the Dugong Conservation workshop held at the University of the Philippines Institute of Environmental Science & Meteorology with Dr. Helene Marsh from James Cook University, Queensland, Australia.

Dugongs are threatened by sea grass habitat loss or degradation because of coastal development or industrial activities that cause water pollution, making the conservation of their shallow water marine habitats very important.   More often than not, these gentle creatures often become victims of by-catch, the accidental entanglement in fishing nets.    Working towards the formulation of a National Dugong Conservation and Management Plan for the Philippines, the participants identified the actions to address these threats.  The proposed National Action Plan should also address other related issues that were previously identified in the Dugong General Management Plan of the Dugong Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), such as poverty alleviation, illicit trade and other drivers of seagrass loss.  

    As the Philippines’ plays host to the 12th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS-COP12) from October 22-28, 2017 we will work together in pursuit of our commitments for the sustainable management of wildlife and humans, and initiate actions to protect these migratory animals and their habitats.