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As part of their ongoing effort to assist states in improving their conservation law enforcement capacity, the Alliance of Palau Conservation Officers (APCO) is excited to introduce to the public their newly-formed Coordination Team: Tobi Delegate Wayne Andrew, Tobi State legislator William Andrew, Surech Bells-Hideo, Bradley Kumangai, Whitney Anderson and Merirei Ongelungel.

Alliance of Palau Conservation Officers' Coordination Team (left-right): Whitney Anderson, Merirei Ongelungel, Delegate Wayne Andrew, Surech Bells-Hideo, William Andrew and Bradley Kumangai.

The coordination team’s objective is to help seek out ways for conservation officers to better collaborate and have a more broad understanding every state’s conservation laws, thus streamlining the enforcement process; getting the message out to the public that conservation law officers are like any other law officers and bring uniformity to the conservation law officers in terms of their presence.

Heading up the team is Tobi Delegate Wayne Andrew, who began work with APCO because “a lot of the state governments have the mandate [for conservation law enforcement], but not necessarily the resources and capacity to do the enforcement… [It was determined that] we needed more officers who were adequately trained and the resources for them to go out and enforce the laws we had in place.”

Also on the coordination team is Tobi state legislator William Andrew, who is the Palau Locally Managed Marine Area Network (Palau LMMA) training coordinator, Micronesian Challenge representative Surech Bells-Hideo and the newcomer Whitney Anderson, a volunteer through One Reef.

Bradley Kumangai, of the Ngardmau Conservation Board is also lending his service as APCO’s consultant on the enforcement end of the Alliance; while Merirei Ongelungel of Palau Wave Radio and Tia Belau Newspaper is joining forces with APCO as the communications and media specialist.

This ongoing effort is supported and coordinated by the Palau LMMA, Pacific Islands Marine Protected Areas Community (PIMPAC) and Micronesian Conservation Trust (MCT).