We help people to understand and love the dugong. They are then motivated to protect its habitat, and as the habitat improves, the number of fish increases, and people earn more income.
Herds of dugongs, or sea cows, once grazed on extensive seagrass meadows in the waters along Thailand’s southern coastline. Today, the large, slow-moving marine mammals are rarely seen there. For more than 30 years, Pisit Charnsnoh and
his Yadfon (Raindrop) organization have mobilized the community by making this creature the focus of a grass-roots enterprise whose goal is to regenerate an entire coastline, its wildlife and livelihoods.<br><br>To save
the dugong from extinction in Thai waters, Charnsnoh understood that it was necessary to involve local people in restoring its coastal habitat. Today, the region’s underwater seagrass meadows, the primary dugong habitat, are actively
protected by nearby communities, and the mangrove forests connected to the meadows – mangrove forests are vital elements of the coastal ecosystems worldwide – now total more than 5,000 hectares.<br><br>Yadfon also conducts
regular educational programmes in 13 schools, reaching some 2,000 students. Furthermore, the provincial authorities have developed a dugong conservation strategy and are implementing a ban on fishing techniques that are harmful to
the species. Over the years, not only have the village-managed mangrove forests begun regenerating, the coastal fishery has revived, with the dugong population appearing more stable and fishermen’s nets filling once more.