Wildlife Conservation Society applauds the launching of Coral Triangle Initiative at CTI Summit in Manado, Indonesia

NEW YORK (MAY 15, 2009) On May 15, 2009, the Heads of State of Indonesia, the Philippines, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Malaysia, signed a “leaders declaration” to officially launch the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF).

As part of this historic initiative, the six countries pledge “accelerated and collaborative action” in protecting the 1.6 billion acre Coral Triangle region-- considered the world’s epicenter for sea life. The Coral Triangle is home to over 500 species of reef-building coral and over 3000 species of fish. Millions of coastal inhabitants in the Coral Triangle depend mostly on healthy and diverse marine ecosystems for their livelihoods.

The leaders pledged to address threats to the marine, coastal and small island ecosystems within the Coral Triangle and adopted the CTI Regional Plan of Action. The plan includes priority actions for seascapes, fisheries management, marine protected areas, climate change adaptation and threatened species throughout the region.

At the CTI Summit, in Manado, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Marine Programs, Dr. Caleb McClennen remarked, “On this historic day, I would like to offer the full congratulations of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to the governments and fellow partners of the Coral Triangle Initiative. WCS looks forward to continuing its commitment of providing strong science, capacity building, and innovative marine conservation solutions to this initiative, with particular focus on our established programs in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and regionally in Fiji.”

WCS assists in the conservation of nearly 90% of all tropical coral reef species across priority seascapes in the Coral Triangle, Western Indian Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, working with fisherman, communities, governments and other partners in its efforts to save wildlife and wild places throughout the world’s oceans.

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. Visit: www.wcs.org

Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to: www.wcs.org/donation

Stephen Sautner: (1-718-220-3682; ssautner@wcs.org)
Scott Smith: (1-718-220-3698; ssmith@wcs.org)