Creating a Safe Haven for Flagship Species
One of WWF-NL’s long-term goals is to create a safe haven for flagship species from the Dutch Caribbean by protecting them across their geographic range. In order to achieve this goal, we work together with local partners such as governments and the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance. Furthermore, we focus on two spearpoints.
Reduce man-made threats to flagship species
Many flagship species (sea turtles, whales, and sharks) move between their feeding and breeding grounds year-round. To safeguard the survival of these species, it is important to protect them during this migration. While the general threats are known (e.g. we are working to reduce the impact of bycatch on these animals throughout the Caribbean as well as reduce the amount of marine litter across the Caribbean), it is often unclear what the exact impact is on these animals. There are still big gaps on knowledge about how these species move around the region and where threats overlap with these movements, making it difficult to reduce these threats effectively. Our objective is to improve knowledge, identify gaps and set up regional programs and plans to tackle threats at a regional level, thereby making the Caribbean a safer place for these flagship species.
Expand coverage and improve management of Marine Protected Areas for flagship species
We want to improve knowledge on the population size and migration patterns of different flagship species, like whales, sea turtles, and sharks. This asks for stronger cooperation in the region, led by species specific organizations, such as Caribbean Cetacean Society and Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire, and improved collaboration with already existing platforms (e.g., WIDECAST for sea turtles). There is limited data for certain species, so our goal is to help improve data collection in the region and identify gaps in protection. In collaboration with our key partners, WWF-NL aims for better protection of key areas by establishing and connecting Marine Protected Areas in the region, such as connecting Yarari Marine Mammal and Shark Sanctuary and Agoa Marine Mammal Sanctuary.