Target: Josua Muakula
Goal: Applaud Josua for his outstanding commitment to protecting turtles around the island of Fiji
Josua Muakula has become the youngest turtle monitor in Fiji, at just 18 years of age. Only 25 men are involved in the enormous challenge of protecting turtles and promoting sustainable ways of harvesting them. Applaud Josua for taking action to preserve and protect turtles inhabiting Fiji.
While growing up at Denimanu Village on Yadua Island, Josua estimated that he consumed about 70-80 kilograms of turtle meat throughout his life. He has always been a lover of the sea, diving and fishing for turtles even at a young age. After dropping out of school, he soon incorporated bêche-de-mer diving as an option for his future career. As an island tradition, bringing home turtle meat was viewed as a sign of manhood, showing the capability of becoming a successful diver.
The World Wildlife Fund organized a turtle monitoring session at Nakalou Village in Macuata, which Josua participated in. This is when he realized just how vulnerable turtle populations are and wanted to make a difference to preserve turtles and their environments for generations to come.
When Josua first started advocating for the protection of turtles, his peers would tease him with tantalizing turtle meat dishes. But he remained steadfast and continued to educate them on the importance of conservation and gradually some of his peers began to understand. Some of them even changed their ways by signing up to become turtle monitors themselves.
A combination of policy development, community initiatives and World Wildlife Fund-Fiji’s awareness campaigns, the country’s Department of Fisheries has announced further protection for turtles by prohibiting hunting permits to be issued from November to February for a ten-year period. Congratulate Josua Muakula for his tremendous efforts in turtle conservation.
Dear Josua Muakula,
Your courage and dedication to protecting turtles living around the island of Fiji is remarkable. Despite adversity from your peers, you remained unwavering in your commitment to conservation.
With global warming altering the habitats of many wildlife species, advocating for sustainability is becoming an important factor, especially with turtle populations declining. Because of your outstanding efforts, the Department of Fisheries is providing additional protection by no longer issuing hunting permits from the months of November to February for a ten-year period. Congratulations and keep up your extraordinary work.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: upload.wikimedia.org