The History of Ulithi Sea Turtle Project
Sea turtle monitoring in Yap was initiated in 1989 by the Yap State Marine Resources Management Division.
Since 2005, project director Jennifer Cruce and specially trained Falalop community members have collected life history information on Ulithi sea turtles.
In 2007, Oceanic Society initiated an integrated program to help foster conservation, strengthen cultural traditions, and promote alternative sustainable livelihoods on Falalop.
In collaboration with Steven P. Kolinski, Ph.D., who researched Yap sea turtles in the 1990’s, and George Balazs with the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, a satellite tracking effort was also initiated.
In 2011, John Rulmal Jr. from the Ulithi community became the project supervisor, Jen Cruce continues as project investigator and Bryan Wallace, Ph.D. is the scientific advisor.Since 2005, a total of 22 men from Falalop, Ulithi have been trained in basic sea turtle biology and nesting beach monitoring field techniques. Hundreds of turtles have been tagged and nest ecology data collected to determine turtle distribution, peak nesting season, and relative reproductive success.
About the Ulithi Sea Turtle Project
In 2007, Oceanic Society initiated an integrated program to help foster conservation, strengthen cultural traditions, and promote alternative sustainable livelihoods.
The Society’s conservation approach is to foster alternative livelihoods for the benefit of local communities bordering marine protected areas through the development of eco-friendly economies as an alternative to those that are destructive to wildlife and natural habitats. Our wildlife conservation projects enjoy community support because we work locally from the beginning.
The resources in Ulithi belong to specific communities and are managed by their Chiefs. A marine reserve and turtle sanctuary is currently under consideration. However, the communities are in need of basic infrastructure support and Oceanic Society believes a tangible long-term benefit to the community should be realized in exchange for any proposed reserves or sanctuaries.
A continuous, long-term monitoring effort is needed to better understand population size and trends at Ulithi in order to address conservation management issues.
To learn more about the Sea Turtle Project and Ulithi programs, contact the Oceanic Society or call 800-326-7491.