Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea

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Eisemberg C.C.,University of Canberra | Eisemberg C.C.,Charles Darwin University | Amepou Y.,University of Canberra | Rose M.,Flora and Fauna International | And 3 more authors.
Journal for Nature Conservation | Year: 2015

Environmental, biological, social, economic and political values influence the creation of protected areas. In some instances, the main aim of protected areas is to conserve a particular threatened species. The pig-nosed turtle (Carettochelys insculpta) in Papua New Guinea is a typical example of a species that would benefit from the introduction of small protected areas aimed to reduce overharvest. This species is highly prized as food and it is the most exploited turtle in the country. This study aims to identify priority areas for C. insculpta conservation in the Kikori region, taking into account the data available on biology, demography and harvest, as well as the distribution and demography of the Kikori human population. We identified seven potential priority areas for conservation and no-take areas, which comprise remote nesting sandbanks and feeding grounds. The conservation goals of these protected areas should be clearly linked with the local community aspirations of maintaining and increasing the number of eggs and adult turtles for future harvest. Monitoring of human and C. insculpta populations inside and outside priority areas are crucial to ensure that the vital areas for C. insculpta life cycle are maintained and protected, since feeding and nesting areas, as well as hunting areas, are likely to change in response to food and sandbank availability. The method presented in this paper has the potential to be adapted and applied while defining priorities in remote locations, where the implementation of protected areas are likely to affect communities livelihoods. © 2015 Elsevier GmbH.

Eisemberg C.C.,University of Canberra | Eisemberg C.C.,Charles Darwin University | Rose M.,Flora and Fauna International | Yaru B.,University of Canberra | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Zoology | Year: 2015

Extant estuarine and freshwater animals show a variety of adaptations to marine life, which could reflect transitional stages in a gradual evolution from freshwater to the sea. Our aim was to identify the temporal and spatial environment associated with pig-nosed turtles Carettochelys insculpta coastal nesting in the Kikori Region, Papua New Guinea (PNG). We also related the use of coastal areas with size within and among different populations of C.insculpta and species of the superfamily Trionychoidea. Throughout its range, C.insculpta nests during the drier months when suitable sandbanks are exposed. In PNG, rainfall in the drier season dilutes salinities and C.insculpta nests in coastal sandbanks. In Australia, high salinities prevail in the river mouths during the nesting season and no coastal use is observed. Trends toward a larger body size in coastal areas suggest that size is an important factor to explore coastal environments. It is unlikely that female C.insculpta with less than 50cm (curve carapace length) would be able to cope with the Kikori coastal environment. Expanding this trend to its superfamily Trionychoidea, only species larger than 37cm (leathery carapace length) explore coastal environments. As the Australian coast is not suitable for nesting, the selection for larger body sizes was probably relieved. Of course, the reverse could be true, but our study provides an example of the caution required when placing evolutionary interpretations on life-history traits whose manifestation is studied only within a restricted portion of a species range. © 2014 The Zoological Society of London.

Eisemberg C.C.,University of Canberra | Eisemberg C.C.,Charles Darwin University | Rose M.,Fauna and Flora International | Yaru B.,University of Canberra | And 2 more authors.
ORYX | Year: 2014

Management of wildlife use by communities living a partially traditional lifestyle is usually more successful when the interactions between those communities and the environment are well understood. We mapped the harvest areas for the Vulnerable pig-nosed turtle Carettochelys insculpta for six language-groups in the Kikori region of Papua New Guinea and compared harvest parameters between different areas and language-groups and, when possible, between 1980-1982 and 2007-2009. Spatially, the main influence on harvest method was a tribe's location relative to the turtle's distribution. No small juveniles (< 20 cm straight-line carapace length) were found outside the Kikori delta, which is probably the species' feeding grounds. In contrast, nesting females were captured only in upstream and coastal sandbank areas. Temporally there were distinct differences in harvesting parameters between tribes, which may be explained by differential employment opportunities. To halt the decline of pig-nosed turtles in the Kikori region we recommend the establishment of beach and feeding-ground protection initiatives, together with monitoring of the turtle population and harvest. Concomitantly, trips specifically targeted at harvesting the turtles, which account for 81% of the animals captured, need to be restricted. These initiatives should include all six language-groups and take into account their specific harvesting patterns. Copyright © Fauna & Flora International 2014.

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