Marine Wildlife Expert Lectures on Research and Conservation
Butanding Network founder Elson Aca presented a lecture on “Marine Wildlife Research and Conservation in the Philippines” at the Institute of Environmental and Marine Sciences (IEMS) Conference Room on September 19.
His talk covered four groups of large marine vertebrates in the Philippines: dugongs, cetaceans (whales and dolphins), sea turtles, and elasmobranchs (sharks and rays). Most species in these taxa are threatened species and need to be protected not only to preserve the country’s rich biodiversity but more importantly, to maintain ecological balance.
In his lecture, Elson stressed the importance of research to conservation quite simply by asking “How can we protect or manage them if we don't know much about them?” He hopes to encourage future researchers and conservationists through the Information, Education and Communication or IEC activities that he conducts at schools and communities throughout the country.
Elson became passionately involved in marine wildlife research and conservation after volunteering for the Babuyan Islands Humpback Whale Research Expedition in 2002. At present, he is an active member of the non-government organization Balyena.org.
He holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science (UPLB, 1992) and two Master's degrees: MSc. in Environmental Management (National University of Singapore, 2013) and MAppSc. in Geographic Information Systems (University of New South Wales, 1996).
The organization he founded, Butanding Network, is a grass root initiative that seeks to widen the public awareness and spark the involvement of people for the conservation of whale sharks in the Philippines.