WWF Dr Lew Young Grant awards first project in the Philippines under the Asian Waterbird Conservation Fund (AWCF)
“Towards an Informed Conservation Action Plan for Seabirds in the Philippines” by Cynthia Layusa from the Isla Biodiversity Conservation has been awarded funding under the new grant launched, in honour of the late migratory bird conservationist Dr Lew Young, to extend the support from the EAAF to the Central Asian Flyway.
“While the government and non-profit organisations strive to conserve wetlands and associated species, there remains a gap in our research and conservation efforts, and general awareness toward seabirds,” said Ms Layusa. “To the best of our knowledge, there are also no previous attempts to consolidate local seabird studies and efforts in the Philippines.”
For the one-year project, a seabird knowledge-sharing and action-planning workshop will be organised to determine potential sites for seabird research and identify and address gaps in research and conservation at the local and national levels. To strengthen the skills in seabird identification and survey, a field-based training will be held with local groups and volunteers. Education and outreach work such as interviews within the fisherfolk and coastal communities and the distribution of public awareness materials will also be carried out in the selected survey sites.
WWF-Hong Kong CEO Peter Cornthwaite, said: “I would like to express WWF-Hong Kong’s gratitude for the support given by the AWCF Committee in the screening process that has led to Cynthia’s project being awarded with the Grant to contribute to the work of the Seabird Working Group under the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership. Each time I met Lew he was passionate about involving local communities in conservation so I know that he would be pleased to see that the grant was going to a most deserving area of research for the flyway, offering really practical help to those in the field who care so much about saving wetlands and seabirds. This is a great moment and the WWF Dr Lew Young Grant and our other AWCF grants are building a strong constituency for wetland conservation, bringing together people of diverse skills and backgrounds.”