Earlier this month, members of the Moody Gardens animal care team traveled to the Philippines to begin a conservation partnership with a marine aquarium facility in Subic Bay.
The project partners Moody Gardens with a nonprofit organization known as Wildlife In Need (WIN). This project pairs resources with conservation needs in one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet.
WIN is the nonprofit arm of Ocean Adventure, Southeast Asia’s only open water marine park. It is nestled between one of Luzon’s only remaining intact primary growth rainforests and a marine-protected area that includes two small bays on the southern shore of the mouth of Subic Bay.
There are three primary goals for the trip – to formalize a Memorandum of Understanding, develop a coral reef conservation program, and explore terrestrial conservation opportunities.
The Moody Gardens team is working with additional field conservation partners including the California Academy of Science, the Florida Aquarium and SECORE.org to design a land-based coral nursery lab, and begin long term coral reef habitat monitoring as the first step towards active restoration work.
Following the trip, Moody Gardens’ staff will provide direct and in-kind support, as well as technical assistance, in building the coral nursery lab. Their ultimate goal is to establish a facility similar to the SECORE lab at the Curacao Sea Aquarium. It will support technical workshops and regional reef restoration efforts at the same time that it serves a public education role as an aquarium exhibit.
Please refer back to the Moody Gardens blog for updates from the field.