Knowing sea turtles: local communities informing conservation in Koh Rong Archipelago, Cambodia
Three globally threatened species of sea turtle have been recorded in the waters around the Koh Rong Archipelago off Cambodia’s southwest coast: the green turtle Chelonia mydas, the hawksbill Eretmochelys imbricata and the leatherback Dermochelys coriacea. To learn how human communities around the Koh Rong Archipelago interact with these turtle species, we investigated their perceptions and use of sea turtles. Our study used qualitative social science research methods and identified four frames of reference for the sea turtle: turtles as victims, turtles as occasional food, turtles as spiritual beings, and turtles as a promise for the future. These frames of reference were expressed in all villages and among most demographic groups. Our study also identified several perceived threats to sea turtle survival around the Koh Rong Archipelago. The most frequently cited threats were trawling boats, nets, Vietnamese fishermen, hooks, illegal fishing and overfishing. Understanding how local people interpret and interact with sea turtles and perceive threats to their survival provides important insights for nature conservation and education programmes, which our study aims to inform.... [Show full abstract]
KeywordsCambodia; community-based conservation; Koh Rong; qualitative research; sea turtle; social study
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