BY CHARLES KADAMANA
Kolebara descendents of Isabel province have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the provincial government and The Nature Conservation (TNC) to conserve leatherback turtle at Litogahira.
The MOU was signed by Premier Leslie Kikolo, Director of TNC Willie Atu and Kolebara descendent representative Anette Ofu and witnessed by Paramount Chief James Mason and Chief Clement Eta last Friday.
Litogahira, which has the longest beach on Isabel province and accommodates the highest leatherback nest in the country, will become the third conversation area to preserve the largest sea turtle species on earth.
The other conversation areas that are already operational are Haevo Khulano Integrated Conversation and Soisoilo Conversation.
Paramount Chief Bishop James Mason, who was involved in the ground work to convert Litogahira beach into a home for leatherback turtle, is happy to support such project.
He recalls that when he attended junior school in Litogahira during the 1940’s they used to eat the leatherback turtle, but now he has learned that the species are just like human beings trying to survive.
He said the largest sea turtle species is endangered and their survival depends on our goodwill.
“It is time for us to come to terms with them so that we can treat them like our neighbours and protect them,” he said
Mason said with the signing of the MOU the three parties should show their commitment towards implementing the project.
Premier Leslie Kilo added that the MOU comes at a right time for them to come to one mind and strengthen their commitment towards the project.
He said TNC has been implementing similar conservation projects like in Arnavon, Haevo and Soisoilo and the province is honoured to host such projects.
He assured resource owners that the province will try its best to comply with the condition set out in the MOU to ensure the project becomes successful.
He believes other communities and resource owners in Isabel will follow suit in terms of turning their area into conversation areas.
He acknowledged the national leaders of the province for working together with the province to see such project taking place in the province.
Member of Parliament for Hograno/Kia/Havulei Jeremiah Manele commends the three parties for recognizing the important of protecting marine species that are endangered.
He said such project will benefit the future generations to be able to learn about the species.
Manele welcomes such initiative and will support it.
Director of TNC Willie Atu added the leatherback turtle is a species highly bred in Isabel and Western provinces.
“Some species are new so connectively between land and sea is important,” he said.
Atu thanked the landowners for taking on board the project.