What makes the Philippine Siren trip with LAMAVE this January so special?
This January 2019, LAMAVE Executive Director will be joining the Philippine Siren, for a ‘Special Siren Trip’ on a unique 10 day itinerary around the Visayas, Philippines. We caught up with Gonzo to find out more about what makes the trip so “special”.
Why are you so excited about the Sirens trip this coming January?
This special trip will bring along some seldomly explored reefs on the west coast of Leyte, Sogod Bay and Bohol. Not only will we be deploying some acoustic stations (underwater beacons) to understand the connectivity of sharks and rays between the Ticao-Burias Pass and Visayan Sea to the north, we will also be collecting data on marine megafauna encountered along the way. Visiting some known rich habitats for these, will make for an exciting trip.
What can guests expect from having you on board?
I am lucky to work in some incredible places with incredible animals. I will be sharing daily, some of the activities that LAMAVE carries out at the different sites, the different techniques we employ to study different species, and how all of this comes together to inform the management and conservation of highly threatened and endangered species in the Philippines, and internationally.
LAMAVE has worked in the Visayas region for over 7 years, why is it such a hotspot for marine research and conservation?
The Visayas, including the Bohol Sea, is one of the richest marine biodiversity hotspots in the world. Lying at the centre of the centre of the Coral Triangle, the number of marine species per unit area is the highest in the world. This means coral reefs are bursting with marine life and critters beyond count, fish diversity is phenomenal, and marine megafauna booms through various oceanographic and environmental conditions that brings a high diversity of cetaceans, five species of turtles, at least five species of mobulid rays, sharks, and the largest fish in the sea, you know, the spotty one.
What are you most looking forward to on the trip?
The scenery around Limasawa Island and into Sogod Bay is quite fantastic, as is approaching Son-ok in Pintuyan, Southern Leyte. It truly feels like entering Jurassic Park, a land of incredible creatures in a world that’s heavily under threat. Hopefully the whale sharks will be hanging around there, one of the best places in the world to see them, swimming over coral reefs in good visibility, and doing what they do best, preying on zooplankton!
How is the trip contributing to LAMAVE’s marine conservation efforts in the Philippines?
This partnership with the Siren means that part of the proceed from the trip will be donated to LAMAVE. We will use this support to continue our whale shark work in Sogod Bay, working closely with the local community to sustainably manage the tourism, and understanding the ecological significance of the site for this endangered species.
Places are available, but limited. Interested participants can view full details including itinerary, cost, dates and booking options HERE.