Partnership with Endangered Species International
CNCo partners Endangered Species International (ESI) in South Mindanao in the Philippines on mangrove and coastal reef conservation to protect the endangered Philippine forest turtles and enhance their biosphere to encourage population growth. Under this partnership, ASSM volunteers (who are CNCo seafarers) work in the field alongside the ESI on various conservation and community engagement activities.
In 2019 we organised three field trips: two to Mount Matutum protected landscape and one to Sarangani Bay (on the coast, 60 km downstream of Mount Matutum). During those trips:
ESI Founding Director
Supporting Mahonia Na Dari (MND) in Kimbe Bay, PNG
Mahonia Na Dari (Guardian of the Sea), a local marine environment research and conservation education centre based in West New Britain, asked CNCo to assist with infrastructure funding (CAPEX) for non-income generating facilities to support its research, marine education and conservation centre.
MND operates from the Walindi Nature Centre in Kimbe Bay which has one of the most diverse oceanic ecosystems in the world. It provides educational programmes and research facilities for both local schools and international institutions. MND's mission is to understand and conserve the natural environments of Kimbe Bay and PNG for the benefit of the present and future generations. This has been and continues to be achieved by supporting local resource management initiatives.
CNCo granted MND a three-year infrastructure maintenance sponsorship, which will put new roofs on MND's leaking buildings. Over the first two years, the sponsorship provided new metal roofs on 12 buildings including the main office and classroom.
Volunteers from ASSM / CNCo
From 4th to 9th February 2019, five volunteers from ASSM / CNCo participated in conservation activities conducted by Endangered Species International (ESI) in Tupi, South Cotabato, the Philippines. This is an ongoing project to restore and protect the habitats of freshwater turtle species including endangered ones.
This group of CNCo "green champions" carried out tree planting, wildling collection and conducted tree maintenance within the Tarsier sanctuary. Under the guidance of one ESI field biologist, the group collected 600 rare native tree species from the forest floor of the Mt. Matutum within five days. They also planted 250 native trees collected by previous volunteers, conducted weeding for 200 planted and naturally growing trees, and monitored and marked 200 trees.
When asked about their experience, the group said: "Volunteering with ESI was a very good and rewarding experience that we would recommend to anyone in CNCo. During our time at Mt. Matutum, our group focused on planting native trees and taking care of trees planted by previous groups. It was heartening to know that the trees planted are monitored for better survival. When we were there, we found the area to be relatively peaceful and the local community was very accommodating and helpful. Overall, we were very grateful and pleased to have the chance to contribute to the conservation of nature in the Philippines."
A chance meeting in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, between Neil Carraher, Swire Shipping Commercial Manager, and a representative from a local marine environment research and conservation centre, paved the way for Swire Shipping to sponsor new roofs for the facility's dilapidated buildings.
Recalling the meeting, Peter Miller, the new volunteer programme director for Mahonia Na Dari (MND), said: "This was a timely lifeline that was unexpectedly thrown to us, and for which we will always be grateful. The lack of available funds for essential repairs and maintenance reached a critical point during the wet season when the roofs of nearly all buildings leaked very badly. Despite tarpaulin covers placed on roofs, it looked as if the centre might just drown."
After hearing from Peter the dire condition of the centre and after doing the necessary due diligence, CNCo knew we had to do something. As a company with a strong sustainability focus and a commitment to giving back to the communities we operate in, CNCo offered MND a three-year infrastructure maintenance sponsorship which would put new roofs on the buildings. We hope this small gesture will help the Centre achieve its marine research goals and conservation.
MND replaced saksak (sago bark or leaves) roofs with metal sheeting and completed essential repairs for the worst leaking buildings. The most urgent was a dormitory used for visiting school students involved in marine environmental education and conservation programmes. Other buildings included main administration building which houses an office, classroom and library.