Indonesia is home to the endangered leatherback sea turtle. The known threats are egg poaching, pollution, incidental catches, illegal trade, and habitat degradation. The Indonesian government flags sea turtles as a high conservation priority, yet conservation programs are implemented limitedly. Developing an effective and well-founded conservation program is hampered by the incomplete and disparate knowledge of basic sea turtle ecology, such as distribution, population demographics, migration patterns, and habitat use in Indonesia.
The overarching aim of this project is to provide a solid ecological foundation upon which to base a sound management strategy for leatherback sea turtles in Indonesia.
In order to meet the aim, the specific objectives are to;
- Review the current regulations and management strategies for the conservation of leatherback turtles in Indonesia
- Identify current habitats in Indonesia and estimate potential sites based on ecological niche modelling.
- identify and map current and future (anthropogenic) threats to leatherback turtle habitats and migration routes
- Estimate trends of key nesting populations in Sumatra and West Papua
- Estimate the number of local breeding populations and the connectivity among populations within Indonesia
- Based on the acquired data, identify Regional Management Units for leatherback turtles in Indonesia
We will apply state-of-the-art approaches in ecology, such as ecological niche modelling, satellite tracking, and stable isotope analyzes together with genomics in an unprecedented extensive research effort on leatherbacks in Indonesia. The coordinated integration of ecological and genetic data will enable us to provide a rigorous understanding of the status of the leatherback turtle populations in Indonesia.