Photo: Sterling Zumbrunn
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Conserving Raja Ampat
Piggery and Biofuel  

The Ayau Islands are a group of sandy islands on two atolls north of Waigeo in Raja Ampat. The total population comprises 2000 protestant Papuans who are principally subsistence fishermen. Traditionally, they have hunted marine turtles which nest and feed in large numbers all around the Raja Ampat but particularly in the north. The turtles are consumed as a communal meal which is important to their traditional way of life particularly during religious festivals as well as weddings and funerals.



Turtle Conservation – Providing an alternative sustainable source of protein
Many leaders and community members are in favor of giving up turtle hunting, as the species are endangered and the numbers diminishing, however they require an alternative sustainable source of protein. They determined that pigs would be appropriate and assistance has been provided to build the capacity of local people to keep and grow out pigs on the islands.

The project was developed which has provided training in pig husbandry and feeding utilizing local feedstock of coconut and fish waste supplemented with local plant materials such as banana stems. In addition community members have built and are operating, a simple closed system piggery that produces biogas for cooking and processed waste suitable for vegetable production. Since the system became operational in mid 2008, all the villages in Ayau have committed to stop turtle hunting and expand the piggery program.

Protecting Turtles
The main turtle nesting beaches in Raja Ampat are located in the Wayag/Sayang marine protected area. It is here that most efforts have been focused to prevent turtle poaching and protect nesting turtles. A patrol comprising 12 local villagers has been operating in the area since 2006 and successfully reduced turtle poaching of both eggs and adults from 95% of all nesting turtles to practically zero on the main beaches. And text about what is happening in the picture will come here...

A pilot turtle hatchery has been constructed and eggs are relocated there to minimize losses from monitor lizards (a locally revered animal), a major predator of turtle eggs.

Efforts are underway to expand the program to include turtle tagging to monitor populations, an expansion of the hatchery and the setting up of permanent guard posts. In addition local staff will be trained to undertake scientific monitoring and to ensure the operations are up to international standards.

Be really cool during your stay in Raja
Ampat and get your Turtle Friendly
Sandals at the Sorong Airport. All
profits supports the Piggery project!


Photo: Lorem Ipsum
Photo: Sterling Zumbrunn
Photo: Lorem Ipsum