Leatherback Sea Turtle Conservation

Scientists from the US and Indonesia are working together to study the critically endangered leatherback sea turtle on the beaches in West Papua, Indonesia. Population studies are focused on the nesting females and protecting the eggs. Ocean Positive's founder, Geoffrey Gearheart, has developed novel techniques to track the elusive hatchlings. Efforts are underway to train local Papuans to help save these gigantic and majestic animals.


Sustainable Butterfly Farming

Exotic butterflies are lucrative market at this time; collectors and museums pay up to $28,000 for a single specimen. West Papua can lay claim to some of the rarest butterfly species in the world.  Despite the lack of global market figures, as a means of comparison, a single commercial farm in Costa Rica had annual revenues of over $750,000.  Ocean Positive’s first community project is the creation of a sustainable, small-scale butterfly farm, near one of West Papua’s high-profile conservation sites: the leatherback sea turtle nesting beaches on the Island’s north coast. Entomologist Henry Martinez, a specialist in butterfly biology, will provide community members the necessary training and hardware to build and operate the butterfly farm. Chrysalises (larvae) of market value butterflies will be bred and shipped via FedEx from the local airport to export markets in Switzerland, where they will be hatched for display.  The proposed business model is simple, with low investment and small overhead costs. The main risks of this project are related to transportation, but similar models from Papua New Guinea demonstrate we can deliver the products on time to our European customers with minimal financial losses.

Computer training to local Papuans

As part of the Ocean Positive’s community outreach program, we plan to establish a scientific computer laboratory at the University of Papua to provide researchers and students with access to cyber-tools that will enable training with software programs. Computer software companies have already pledged software donations for the computer lab. The outcome of the computer facility will be three-fold: 1) University students will acquire marketable skills for careers in Science.  2) The laboratory will be a sustainable educational tool that advances the goals and training abilities of University of Papua’s Marine Science Department, which has pledged space and maintenance facilities. 3) The exchange of scientific data with SIO in the future will be in a uniform format; a most efficient and cost-effective method compared to many cross-cultural exchanges.