Philippine environmentalist Angelique Songco was awarded the 2019 KfW Stiftung-Bernhard-Grzimek-Preis Biodiversity Prize for her outstanding commitment and groundbreaking management of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park.
The award given to the superintendent of the Marine Protected Area of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park came with the prize money of EURO 50,000.
Angelique “Mama Ranger” Songco was awarded in ceremonies held on September 18 in Germany.
Angelique Songco was recognized as her “exemplary work succeeds in protecting the reef’s extraordinary biodiversity while also meeting the needs of the local population and tourists.”
Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Philippines that is home to more than 360 coral species, 600 fish species, eight marine mammals, and around100 seabird species, as well as many different algae and seaweeds.
Songco has led in the protection of Tubbataha from illegal fishing and tourism that jeopardize the sensitive ecosystem.
Songco, who has been managing the park since 2001, was cited for developing “an innovative and powerful strategy: It focuses especially on thorough educational work and on reaching out to convince people in person.”
“In consequence, she has succeeded in raising awareness of environmental issues among the local community and, as a result, people have been taking greater care in using the Marine Protected Area. Above all, her work aims to develop an understanding among locals that increased conservation efforts are essential to securing their livelihoods and to improving living conditions in the area permanently. Carefully regulated tourism and sustainable fishing have taken on major importance as a reliable source of income for the region and the park,” according to the KfW report.
The 58-year-old Biodiversity awardee says, “It is important to me to explain to people that oceans are not infinite, that they cannot absorb all our rubbish, and that if we continue in this way, there will soon be no fish left for us to catch. For it is only when people start to understand our seas that they begin to treat them with care.”
SEND cheers in the comments below to Mama Ranger Angelique Songco and her Tubbataha team for their efforts to protect a Philippine heritage site!
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