Phu Quoc Island, dated 6 October 2013 – Wildlife At Risk (WAR) and Phu Quoc Marine Protected Area (MPA) organised a parade to raise awareness of Dugong and Endangered Marine Creatures at Duong Dong Town, Phu Quoc Island. The parade aimed to get attention of leaders and local people to protection of Dugong and other endangered marine creatures.Before the parade a meeting was organised at Duong Dong Culture House so that local leaders, local people, tourists and students were aware of the event and could participate in the parade. Approximately 400 people participated including leaders of local authorities on Phu Quoc Island, leaders and staff of Phu Quoc MPA, secondary school students, local people, tourists, WAR staff and leaders, and media. At the meeting prior to the parade, participants were educated regarding the critical situation of Dugong (Dugong dugon) in Vietnam, especially on Phu Quoc Island. They were also introduced ways to join WAR save Dugong in the future on the Island. All leaders and participants also showed commitment to the Protection of Dugong and endangered marine creatures by signing their names on banners and flags which were then paraded through Duong Dong Town.
Despite rain, over 90 people took part and paraded through the main streets of Duong Dong Town carrying messages and banners regarding the Protection of Dugong and endangered marine creatures on parading vehicles and motorbikes. The parade and its message of Dugong Protection got much attention from locals and tourists alike who were on Phu Quoc Island on the day. The parade is one activity of a Project entitled “Conservation of Dugong and Biodiversity of Phu Quoc and Tho Chu Islands” conducted by WAR and Phu Quoc MPA for the period of 2013 to 2015. The Project aims to educate children and local people on conservation of Dugong and endangered marine creatures, and to provide data on marine biodiversity of the area. During this year, approximately 2200 secondary school students and teachers will learn about Dugong and endangered marine creatures through a series of communications and educational activities such as blue clubs, quiz shows, games, and practical activities such as beach cleaning days, marine interpretation field trips, and junior communicators. Two communes will also be targeted in the project. Several surveys are being conducted including a survey on Dugong consumption and exploitation, sea snake survey, and Dugong and biodiversity survey. Results of those surveys will be revealed soon. At the parade, Mr. Nguyen Vu Khoi, WAR’s CEO emphasised that “The project is one of our efforts to save Dugong and endangered marine creatures on this beautiful Phu Quoc Island. The project’s success very much depends on strong co-opporation and attention among different oranisations and every single person who lives on or is visiting Phu Quoc Island. We hope that everyone will take practical action to save the Dugong before its too late. Saving Dugong and endangered marine creatures is saving our beautiful Phu Quoc Island.” Please see some photos of the parade here, and full press release here.