Erfreuliche Nachricht aus dem BP Conservation Programme
für Crocodylus mindoriensis


CROC Project, Philippines :

The survival of the critically endangered Philippine crocodile lies in the hand of the local communities.
Over the past three years, the CROC project has developed a community-based conservation strategy to protect Crocodylus mindoriensis in Northeast Luzon.
In November 2004, the CROC project organized a workshop at the Isabela State University in Cabagan and invited community representatives to design local solutions to address this global conservation priority.
The following four stories will give you an impression of the workshop and the commitment of local people to protect their crocodiles.

Inday Almonte walked four hours from her camp, Pagsuayan, to the nearest village where she took a 6x6 logging truck to the town of San Marino, a four-hour drive.
From there it was easy : an hour jeepney ride, and another two hours by bus to Cabagan.
Inday was one of the representatives of the Agta, the indigenous people of the Sierra Madre.
These hunter-gatherers are highly dependent on fishing and regularly encounter crocodiles; as such their input is crucial in the design of conservation activities.
Moreover, the Agta have special rights to their ancestral lands and recources.
Inday participated in the design of the regulations for the municipal crocodile sanctuary, and made sure, that spear-fishing, a traditional method of fishing that does not harm the crocodiles, is still allowed in the sanctuary.

Manong Boy Robles is an Ilocano rice farmer.
He cultivates land adjacent to Dinang Creek, where the largest population Philippine crocodiles in the wild can be found.
His village, Cadsalan, is inaccessible during rainy season.
Boy need his carabao (water buffalo) to cross the rivers and get to the point where he could take the logging truck to San Mariano.
It took him 16 hours to reach Cabagan.
Boy is one of the members of the newly formed local protection group that will patrol the crocodile sanctuaries in San Mariano.
During the workshop, environmental lawyers explained to him the procedures of collecting evidence and reporting violators to the authorities.
During the last day of the workshop, the municipial major official deputized Boy and eleven other men as "Bantay Sanktuwaryo".

It took Nonie de la Pena three hours to reach Macnacon by outrigger canoe from Dimasalansan, a small Agta community on the Northeast coast of Luzon.
He then had to wait for two days for the Cessna that would bring him to the workshop.
The Northeast monsoon makes sea and air travel unreliable and risky from July to January.
Both the Philippine crocodile and the estuarine crocodile are in Dimasalansan, and the Agta venerate the crocodiles, in contrast to the majority Filipinos who consider the crocodiles dangerous and delicious.
"If you do not harm the crocodile", Nonie told the workshop participants "the crocodile will not harm you."

Barangay captain Flor Alisan also had to fly in from the East coast.
As the village head of Diana she is respnsible for the design and implementation of local laws.
During the workshop she drafted an ordinance prohibiting fishing with dynamite and electricity.
These unsustainable methods are a serious threat for the remaining wild crocodiles.
Flor had more difficulties going back to her village : she had to wait one week before the weather allowed her to fly.
But back in Diana she informed the villagers about the importance of crocodile conservation and the need to regulate fishing.

These four people were not alone.
More than one hundred people from the remote villages of Sierra Madre attended the workshop!
With the help of the CROC Team they designed actions that will protect crocodiles and wetlands in Northeast Luzon.
They realize that the survival of the Philippine crocodile depends on the action.
And they take responsibility : as a result of the workshop twenty villages have enacted ordinances protecting crocodiles and declaring sanctuaries.
Over the past three years, the crocodile population in San Marino has doubled.
With the support of local communities, the team is saving the Philippine crocodile.

Dieses Beispiel zeigt, wie wichtig es ist, die lokale Bevölkerung in Schutzprogramme einzubeziehen, eine Verfahrensweise, die auch die CSG an vielen Orten, an denen bedrohte Krokodile leben, praktiziert.

Ralf Sommerlad