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Saving Wildlife On A Headhunter's Pacific Island (VIDEO)

Posted: 03/19/2012 7:00 am

Tetepare is the largest uninhabited island in the South Pacific. I'm here with Twomey, a local dugong expert and we're having lunch on one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen. The coastline of Tetepare is wild; there's no land between here and Australia. We've spent the morning photographing spinner dolphins jumping in the surf and this evening we're going underwater to try and get close to some dugongs as they come in to feed on the sea grass. Yesterday we dived from the prow of a speedboat onto turtles as part of Tetepare's tagging program.

I was sent here by USAID to document an innovative marine conservation program that empowers local people to run their own conservation projects. Though Tetepare has been uninhabited for generations -- the island's previous occupants fled a mix of headhunting, disease and evil spirits -- the descendants of the last islanders now volunteer to protect the island and the unique sanctuary it provides to turtles, dugongs, dolphins and salt water crocodiles.

A little up the beach some hunters are roasting wild boar. The coastline spills out into waves and I can't decide if it looks more like Avatar or Jurassic Park.

This short film, shot with the help of the Coral Triangle Support Partnership, looks at Tetepare and the incredible work that's being done there:

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