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Wednesday, April 2, 2014


MUR, RAI COAST, MADANG Province, Papua New Guinea

Report prepared by


We would like to thank the Mur villagers and the Dawang Primary School teachers and students for welcoming us to Mur village and Dawang Primary School to conduct this turtle training.
This training would not have been possible without the generous support MAKATA received from the Pacific  Development and Conservation Trust Fund in New Zealand.
This report is part of an ongoing work to conserve, replenish, restore, save, and protect the critically endangered leatherback turtles in Madang, PNG which got off the ground in mid 2006 by the Turtle Island Restoration Network’s Sea Turtle Restoration Project.  The project was initiated by Western Pacific Campaigner for TIRN, Wenceslaus Magun.  He managed this project until 2008 when his contract expired. 
With funding assistance from TIRN, Mr. Magun registered Mas Kagin Tapani Inc. (MAKATA) in 2008 and sustained this project.   
This project has also received funding assistance from SPREP, WWF, GGF, UNDP_SGP, and other donors.   
MAKATA has however, not received any technical or funding assistance from the State or its agencies.
With these small grants MAKATA is able to assist local communities establish managed areas which covers five coastal areas designated under Conservation Deed in Sumkar District.  These Managed Areas are: Karkum-Mirap Conservation Area with 508 Hectares, Kimadi Conservation Area with 550 Hectares, Magubem Conservation Area with 924 Hectares, Tokain Conservation Area with 773 Hectares, and Yadigam Conservation Area with 736 Hectares.   
MAKATA is currently working with Sarang, in north coast, Sumkar District and Mur, Lalok, Male and Bom-Sagar villages in Rai Coast District.

Table of Contents

1.  Introduction

Sea turtles of today have changed little from their ancient reptilian ancestors that appeared on earth millions of years ago before humans. For many years, humans have been exploiting turtles for food and decorative ornaments. In the last 200 years or so, the uncontrollable harvests of adults and juveniles and turtle eggs have caused sea turtle population worldwide to drastically decline. The remaining populations are critically endangered and very close to extinction.
Of the seven of world’s marine turtles, six occur in the PNG marine waters. These include the Flatback, the Green Turtle, the hawksbill, leatherback turtle, the loggerhead and Olive Ridley. Of these six, Hawksbill, Green turtle and the leatherback turtle are most common. From previous survey results and anecdotal information, PNG has some of the large remaining populations of hawksbill, green turtle and Leatherback turtle in the world today. However these populations and especially the leatherback turtle have rapidly declined.
Marine turtles have lived over 100 millions of years. They grow slowly and take between 30-50years to reach sexual maturity. Some live to be over a 100years old.
All marine turtle species are experiencing serious threats to their survival. The main threats are pollution can change to environment – especially reefs and nesting areas. Marine turtles are also killed by entanglement in marine debris, incidental catch in active fishing gear, predation by feral animals, changes to habitat and food sources and indigenous hunting.
Marine turtles migrate long distances of up to 3000 km between nesting beaches and home foraging grounds so that impact on animals in one region have far-reaching implications for populations that spun local, regional and national boundaries.
Marine turtles have traditionally had strong cultural linkages to local communities along the coastal areas of PNG. To maintain these cultures drastic decline in turtle populations must be put to a stop.
Many beaches and near shore reefs along the coastal areas of PNG are home to the marine turtles. While turtle conservation programs have been initiated in a few parts of PNG, large areas although significant in nature lack turtle conservation programs. It is in these areas that local consumption of turtle for eggs and meat go on without saving some of these turtles and eggs.
The MUR Turtle training is a recent initiative by a Mas Kagin Tapani (MAKATA) Inc.  Under its Marine Turtle Conservation Program, MAKATA intends to mobilize Madang coastal communities that have leatherback turtle nesting sites/beaches to set in place protection and management mechanisms for both the adult nesting turtles and the nests and eggs during the annual  nesting seasons.
This training workshop is the first of its kind on Mur community  and hopefully won’t be the last. This is a first step into stopping the continuous harvesting of turtles and turtle eggs in the Mur area.. .
The workshop was organized by the MAKATA Inc.  under Mr Wenceslaus Magun and hosted by the Mur Community and The MUR Top-up school. Rai Coast, Madang  Papua New Guinea.
The workshop ran from the February 21st – the 24th February  2014 and the target audience of the workshop included Mur  community members as well as Grade 7 and Grade 8 Mur Top-up school students. . There were over 40 participants at this course. 
Fig 1. Students of Mur top-up school very keen in learning about Leatherback Turtles. 
Fig 2. Group photo with Mur villagers at Dawang Primary School (Courtesy of Wenceslaus Magun)

1.1 Aims and objectives

The objectives of the training workshop were as outlined:
  • Exposing participants to turtle biology and conservation
  • Instructing participants on turtle tagging and monitoring protocols. Theory and Practical
  • Developing a simple action strategy and management plan for turtle conservation and management
  • Exposing the participants to laws protecting endangered marine species
  • Exposing the participants to the use of awareness campaigns to educated communities on the turtle conservation.
  • Networking communities with each other and in country turtle specialists so as to progress sustainable management of marine turtles.
The training workshop intended to enhance the capacity of Mur communities’ members who are developing a turtle management program in Turtle Conservation and Management. It specifically introduced participants to turtle tagging, data recording and compiling of basic information to monitor turtles that frequent their shores and near shore marine turtles habitats.

1.2 Expected Outcomes

Expected outcomes of the workshop are as listed below.
  • Participants have been exposed to turtle tagging and monitoring protocols and are comfortable to begin turtle monitoring including tagging and documentation of nesting data on their nesting beaches.
  • Participants are well versed with turtle and marine issues and are able to articulate through awareness campaigns to the coastal communities of the Rai Coast District.
  • A turtle conservation and management network is established and information flow and exchange is initiated and maintained. 

2.  Course Contents.

The training workshop was divided into 6 sessions and presentations and discussions were centered on this. The sessions are as listed below.

Session 1: To introduce marine turtle ecology to the participants that will include:
·         Marine environment
·         Marine turtle biology / life cycle
·         Marine turtle nesting ecology

       Session 2:  To introduce Marine turtle Species found in PNG waters
·         Marine Turtles species in PNG waters
·         Marine turtle Distribution in PNG waters
·         Status of Marine Turtles in PNG
·         Current Turtle programs in PNG

      Session 3: To introduce turtle tagging and data collection protocols
·         Marine turtle tagging
·         Various tags used
·         Data sheets
·         Satellite tracking
·         Databases
·         Practical application to turtle tagging and data collecting

      Session 4.  Developing a turtle Conservation Management Plan
·         Strategic planning and workplan
·         Management planning

     Session 5.  Marine Turtle Protection under PNG legislation
·         Fauna Protection and Control Act (1978)

     Session 6. Education and Awareness on Marine Turtle Conservation Programs
·         Education and awareness ..........WHY???
·         Methods/ Avenues

The training workshop program is outlined in Annex 1.

3.  Outcomes of the Workshop.

Due to logistical arrangements and the rough sea weather conditions, the training team arrived late on Friday night – 21st February 2014, at MUR Village.  Participants began arriving on Saturday  22nd February  2014. Registration done on the morning of the workshop. Those who came later were registered in the following day.  Nearly half the participants that registered were Grade 7 and 8 of Mur Top-up school.

Day 1. Saturday 22nd February 2014

An opening ceremony was done at 10.30am to open the workshop. The local church elder made a few remarks on the importance of creation and followed this with a prayer. This was followed by a few remarks by Mr. Wenceslaus Magun, the MAKATA Inc. Project Coordinator.

Following the opening ceremony, participants were asked to introduce themselves. Participants’ number at the workshop was about 40. Gender balance was adequate.  

The training proper began at 11.00am. The participants were introduced to the marine environment. These included the major habitats such as mangroves forests, seagrass beds, the coral reefs and the pelagic or deep waters. Examples of organisms on each habitat were given. There was great emphasis on the “connectivity” of the marine systems and the need to consider this connectivity when designing a management regime for these systems. Oceanic and local water currents playing a major role in disbursement of larvae etc. of marine organisms was also highlighted. Turtle migration and feeding was also linked to marine connectivity and the importance of turtle migration linking to feeding and breeding/nesting grounds.

Marine turtle biology was introduced next. The participants were introduced to the life cycle of the marine turtles. From the nesting behaviour to hatchling going into the sea, growing up on the sea and the migration to feeding sites and returning to nesting beaches as matured adults.  A 4th turtle species, the Marine Turtle nesting ecology was presented to the participants highlighting nesting behaviours and beaches.

Marine Turtle species of the oceans were introduced and all seven species of marine turtles were introduced briefly. The common 3 species (hawksbill, green turtles and the leatherback turtle) were  discussed thoroughly as more time were spend on these 3 species and also the fact that they were very common in PNG marine waters.  Current turtle programs in PNG were also presented. This included the Huon Coast Leatherback program and the Madang tagging program.

Marine Turtle Species in PNG waters and their distribution were then presented to the participants. The participants were informed that there has been no systematic update on the distribution of the turtle species in the PNG waters since the last distribution survey done by Sylvia Spring[1] in 1978. Information from Sylvia’s survey indicated that Greens and Hawkbills were common throughout PNG waters while Leatherback was restricted to the northern coast of PNG mainland and occasionally were found in the New Britain’s, New Ireland and Manus Islands beaches during nesting seasons.
For each presentation, discussion time was set aside for questions and comments. There were a good number of discussions and comments. Traditional knowledge was also highlighted by the participants on their knowledge of the marine environment and especially on the marine turtles.

Towards the end of the day there was a recap and a brief evaluation of the presentations and the workshop ended for day at 5.30pm. All in all the participants understood and grasped the presentation well

Day2. Sunday 23rd February

Day two began at 1.30pm after church services with a recap of the previous day’s presentation. This was followed by a couple of presentations on turtle tagging and monitoring protocols throughout the day.

Presentations under this session included: Turtle tagging protocols, various tags that are used, turtle monitoring datasheets, and various turtle databases and turtle management programs in PNG and the region. Under turtle tagging protocols, participants were instructed on the proper application of various tags used including the metal tags, the PIT tags and the satellite tracking systems.  Advantages and disadvantages of this various tags were highlighted. Various data sheets were also introduced to the participants including:  “turtle encounter and nesting turtle datasheet”, “nest “datasheet, Nesting Beach ground survey”..etc. The participants were informed that the Turtle Encounter and Nesting Turtle Datasheet” was ideal for the purpose of the turtle tagging program that is being initiated along the Madang coast. 

There was no actually demonstration of tagging and data compilations the turtle team did not have any tags and applicators for the training.

Time was also set aside for questions, comments, and clarifications on the presentations. In general, the session was very constructive and also a lot of information not covered under the formal presentations was covered under this session.

Towards the end of the day, awareness videos on the plight of the leatherback turtles were shown to the participants. Children made about half the participants. 5 videos were shown and captured the participants attention.

After an evaluation of the day’s sessions, the workshop wrapped up at 6.30pm. . 

Day3. Monday 24th february 2014

Day 3 was a very special and interesting day.
Then morning session was dedicated to the school children comprising Grade 7 and 8 students. A special mention is made here of the school children in that, the school term has begun some weeks back but the children have not had any teachers to date. In fact there were only 3 teachers were running the school including the Headmaster. The headmaster especially requested for a morning presentation because the students were going through the first few weeks studying Environment and Resources.

The following topics were covered:
·         Environment
o   Definition,
o   Land, freshwater wetlands, sea and air
o   Natural and manmade
o   Abiotic and biotic
·         Resources
o   Definition of resources
o   Natural and manmade resources
o   Renewable and non-renewable resources.
·         Climate change and sea level rise
·         The greenhouse effect and the ozone layer
·         Acid rain
The audiences were captivated from the start. They were very keen and asked a lot of question that were very well thought out.

The afternoon session was resumed with the turtle training community participants. Some students also remained in the afternoon session. This was basically introducing the participants to strategic planning of various programs and especially developing a Turtle Management Plan for the marine turtle program for their respective communities. A simple logical framework was used to get the participants into the strategic planning process.

The following topics were covered under this session:
  •  Strategic planning (vision, mission...etc.)
  • Work  planning
  • Issues
  • Thematic mapping of issues
  •  Developing a Management Plan
  • Adding possible costing to certain activities.

The participants were introduced to basic strategic planning and then taken through a strategic planning exercise using their community oriented turtle program to develop Workplan for their community programs. For most of the participants it was a first time to go through a strategic planning process but they were very enthusiastic and had no problems coping with the exercise.

The strategic planning exercise took half of the afternoon.

The final two sessions were squeezed in to the later part of the afternoon session. This included the relevant laws and legislation protecting turtles and how to go about developing an effective awareness campaign on turtle conservation.

Under the PNG laws on wildlife protection, participants were introduced to the Fauna Protection and Control Act (1978), relevant Policies and the Wildlife Management Areas concept under the Fauna (and Flora) protection and Control Act. Various sections under the Act were introduced. Discussion centered on the issue of enforcement. Enforcement and/or rather lack of enforcement of this Act under the Department of Environment and Conservation have been an ongoing issue. It was also noted that regulations under this Act pertaining to endangered, restricted take, and/or protection of endangered species were not very specific in terms of local take or harvest of these resources. All in all the discussions and comments brought forward under this session went very well and opened up minds of the participants.

Under the session on “Effective Awareness Campaign”, participants were introduced to Education and Awareness as an effective mechanism or tool that is currently utilized to drive home information and also increase communities and general public knowledge on the issues associated with conservation management.  Topics under this session included: why education and awareness?, methodologies, getting the message across, target audiences and effective awareness campaigns.  Most participants at the workshop has had previous and varying experiences in undertaking awareness campaigns on environmental and conservation issues out to the general public and communities and are well versed. This session strengthened and somewhat enhanced their capacity to undertake more awareness campaigns.  Discussions under this session went well and were again very informative.

An evaluation was undertaken following the session on Education and Awareness followed by a final evaluation of the training workshop.

The training workshop ended at 6.30pm.

The workshop was formally closed by the community elder at a small closing ceremony in which various speeches were made and commitment to conserve and manage leatherback turtles was made.

5. Evaluation of the Training Workshop.

There were no formal questionnaires nor systematic methodologies used in evaluating the training workshop.  Daily evaluations were done at end of each day and a final evaluation was done at the end of the last day of the training workshop. Evaluation was done through verbal communication by means of questions and answers (both ways) and comments and observations.
In terms of attendance, there was full Level of participants from the host community and fair representation from other 3 participating communities. There was adequate gender balance of participants. All participants had some form of formal education and hence were comfortable with the language, methods, and level of presentations. The workshop was run in Tok Pisin and English.
In terms of the course content, the organisers attempted to provide an over view of the marine environment, differentiating from the terrestrial, describing the main habitats in the marine environment, emphasing on the nature of “connectivity” in the marine environment and species, and narrowing down to endangered marine species and in particular touching on the marine turtle species. Under marine turtles, species distribution and status were introduced, common species in PNG waters was highlighted and tagging and monitoring protocols were presented. Community Marine turtle monitoring and tagging and management action plans were firstly presented and discussed then developed for each community. Through daily evaluation and final evaluation, conclusions were drawn in that the course content was adequate given that this was the first kind of training offered to these communities, the presentation covered a very wide range of marine topics in a very limited time, the course/information were presented in a very easily understood and simplified way, and that the participants expectations of the workshop was met. The participants felt that training workshops of this sort should be done more often.
In terms of marine turtle information especially on turtle tagging and monitoring, 2 days were spend on this and the topic adequately covered. Whatever issues raised under this session were also adequately addressed through answers and question time and specific comments.
All in all the entire training workshop was timely, very informative, and addressed marine turtle issues and information gaps that were identified from initial consultations by the MAKATA Team..

6. Follow-up

There were several activities that needed to be done as identified through the course and closing of the workshop. These are listed below:
v  Distribution of training workshop  documents
o    Details of presentations are contained in documents. This will need to be printed, binded and distributed to course participants. MAKATA Inc.  will be responsible for this.
v  Mobilizing of distribution of awareness materials
o   All workshop participants mentioned the need to have awareness materials with them when they are talking to the community and school children in their communities.  The first point of contact will be the SPREP marine turtle program. Request will be made to the SPREP marine officer(s) for posters, brochures, Turtle DVD to be send to Job Opu and Wenceslaus Magun who will in turn make sure that awareness materials mobilized will be send to appropriate community members to be distributed during their awareness campaigns.
o   Other marine turtle programs throughout and especially in Australia, the Asia and the Hawaii turtle projects will also be approached to supply the MUR community with awareness materials.
v  Further Training Workshops on Marine Turtles (and other marine related issues)
o   The training workshop was the first of its kind in Rai Coast coastal communities and has generated alot of interest among different communities. Informal requests have been provided to the workshop organisers to run similar kind of workshops in the near future to continue raising awareness along the coastal communities.
o   Wenceslaus Magun and Job Opu on behalf of the MAKATA will look into this and develop proposals etc to mobilize funds to continue the training to other communities in Rai Coast Area of Madang
v  Formation of Leatherback Turtle Conservation Network along the Madang Coast.
o   The number of communities along the Madang Coasts being trained in turtle are increasing. So far over 5 communities have been trained. In order to further strengthen, allow for information exchange  and encourage these communities to maintain the interest, momentum and progress towards conserving and managing the leatherback turtles some form of networking among these communities need to be established.
o    It is highly recommended that a  non-legally binding Madang Leatherback Turtle Network needs to be formed by the communities. MAKATA to look into this.

Annex 1. The Training Workshop Program.

1.1  Venue: MUR, Rai Coast, Madang Province
1.2  Logistics
Wenceslaus Magun
Coordinator – MAKATA Inc.
Wenceslaus is the Program Coordinator for The Madang Sea Turtle Restoration Project and will be responsible for all logistics and coordination.  He will put in fulltime for this training program taking care of all logistics and support.

1.3  Participation
·         Selected Community Members of MUR and neighboring villages.
·         Local NGO representatives

1.4  Key Personnel / Trainer
Job Opu
Marine Species Specialist
Port Moresby

Job has been involved in marine species program in PNG and the pacific region and is well versed in community based turtles conservation and management.

Job’s input into this program will be i) Developing the training program, ii) preparation of course material, iii) running the course itself and iv) writing up the final report.

2.    Training Workshop Goals

The training workshop seeks to enhance the capacity of Mur communities’ members who are developing a turtle management program in Turtle Conservation and Management. Its specifically seeks to train the community members in turtle tagging, data recording and compiling of basic information to monitor turtles that frequent their shores and near shore marine turtles habitats.

The expected outcomes for the training workshop are:

Session 1: To introduce marine turtle ecology to the participants that will include:
·         Marine environment
·         Marine turtle biology / life cycle
·         Marine turtle nesting ecology

       Session 2:  To introduce Marine turtle Species found in PNG waters
·         Marine Turtles species in PNG waters
·         Marine turtle Distribution in PNG waters
·         Status of Marine Turtles in PNG
·         Current Turtle programs in PNG

      Session 3: To introduce turtle tagging and data collection protocols
·         Marine turtle tagging
·         Various tags used
·         Data sheets
·         Satellite tracking
·         Databases
·         Practical application to turtle tagging and data collecting

      Session 4.  Developing a turtle Conservation Management Plan
·         Strategic planning and Workplan
·         Management planning

     Session 5.  Marine Turtle Protection under PNG legislation
·         Fauna Protection and Control Act (1978)

     Session 6. Education and Awareness on Marine Turtle Conservation Programs
·         Education and awareness ..........WHY???
·         Methods/ Avenues

3.    Training Workshop Program

Time                           Program                                                         Key Person(s)

8.30 – 9.00am             Registration                                                    Wenceslaus Magun

9.00 – 9.30am             Opening and Introductions             Wenceslaus Magun/Mur Church Leader
·         Opening Prayer
·         Opening Remarks (Wenceslaus)
·         Address by ward Councillor
·         Opening of workshop

10.00am – 12.00 noon            Session 1:  Introduction                                          Job
·         Marine Turtle Ecology
o    Marine environment
o    Marine turtle biology / life cycle
o    Marine turtle nesting ecology

12.00 – 1.00pm                       LUNCH BREAK

1.00pm – 1.30pm        Review of Session 1.                                                  Job

1.30pm – 3.00pm        Session 2:  Marine Turtles’ species in PNG Waters        Job
·         Marine Turtle Species in PNG waters
·         Marine turtle Distribution (nesting..etc)

3.00 – 3.30pm             TEA BREAK

3.30 – 4.30pm             Session 2. Continued
·         Status of Marine Turtles in PNG
·         Current Turtle Programs in PNG

4.30pm                                    Wrap up. / Evaluation                                                 Job/Wenceslaus
5.00pm                                    End of Day 1.

Time                           Program                                                         Key Person(s)
Day 2.
8.30 – 9.00am             Review of day 1                                                                      Job
9.00 – 10.30am                       Session 3. Turtle Monitoring Protocols                            Job
·         Marine Turtle Tagging Protocols
·         Various Tags Used

10.30- 11.00am                       TEA BREAK

11.00 – 12.30pm         Session 3 Continued
·         Turtle monitoring datasheets
·         Turtle databases

12.30 – 1.30pm                       LUNCH BREAK

1.30 – 3.00pm                         Session 3 Continued
·         Practical Application to tagging
·         Data collecting and documentation

3.00pm                        TEABREAK

3.30 – 4.30pm                         Session 3 Continued

5.00pm                                    WRAP UP / Evaluation – end of day 2                      Job/Wenceslaus

  Time                                     Program                                                         Key Person(s)
Day 3
8.30-9.00am                Review if day 2                                                           Job

9.00 – 10.30am                       Session 4.  Turtle Conservation Mgt Plan Job

·         Strategic planning (vision, mission...etc)
·         Work  planning

10.30 – 11.00am         TEA BREAK

11.00 – 12.30pm         Session 4 Continued – Mgt Planning
·         Issues
·         Thematic mapping of issues

12.30 – 1.30pm                       LUNCH BREAK

 1.30 – 3.00pm                        Session 4 Continued –
·         Developing a Mgt Plan

3.00 – 3.30pm                         TEA BREAK

3.30 – 4.30pm                         Video Session on Turtle Cons & Mgt                    Job

4.30pm.                       Wrap up and evaluation                                              Wenceslaus/Job
5.00pm                                    End of Day
Time                           Program                                             Key Person(s)
Day 4
8.30 – 9.00am             Recap of day 3

9.30 – 10.30am                       Session 5: Wildlife Legislation                    Job
·         Fauna Protection and Control Act (1978)
·         Relevant Policies
·         WMAs

10.30 – 11.00am         TEA BREAK

11.00 – 12.30pm         Session 5 Continued

12.30 – 1.30pm                       LUNCH BREAK

1.30 – 3.00pm                         Session 6. Education and Awareness
·         Education and Awareness – Why??
·         Getting the message across
·         Methods

3.00 – 3.30pm             TEA BREAK

3.30 – 4.30pm                         Session 6 Continued

4.30pm                                    Evaluation and Wrap up

Time                           Program                                             Key Person(s)

Day 5
8.30 – 10.00am                       Review of Weeks Session
Next Steps

11.00-12.00noon         Closing Ceremony
·         Speeches
·         Awarding of certificates
·         Closing speech

12.00 Noon                 LUNCH /Departure

Annex 2. List of Participants.

Total of over 40 participants both from Dawang Primary School and Villagers

Annex 3. Draft MUR Marine Conservation and Management Plan.

Thematic Area
Expected Output
Time Frame
1.    Education and awareness
To increase knowledge on turtle and marine environment to better protect them
Community knowledge is increased and turtle is sustainably managed.
a)    Invite more conservation/scientist to carry out training workshop to build capacity of community awareness tem
b)    Mobilise resources to use for awareness
c)    Carryout systematic awareness by awareness tem.

2.    Establishment of Locally Managed Marine Area
To set up an MPA to sustainable manage the marine resources and the leatherback turtle
MPA in Place to protect the marine environment
a)    Planning meeting to conserve marine life
b)    Establishment of LMMA Committee
c)    Distribution of work activities among committees
a.    awareness committee
b.    education committee
c.    turtle monitoring committee
d)    formation of rules and regulations and conservation laws for the LMMA

3.    Turtle tagging and monitoring, research
To establish and have in place a turtle monitoring program
turtles tagged , data collected and information entered into the database on an annual basis
a)    Set up a team
b)    Undergo turtle training
c)    Carry out turtle tagging and monitoring
d)    Document and store data and link data to SPREP.

4.    Networking and linkages

a)    Training linkages
a.    Madang NGOs
b.    National NGOs
c.    Provincial executive council rep
d.    NGO forum- Madang Provincial Government
e.    Madang Kalibobo learning and training network

[1] Sylvia Spring worked for the Wildlife Branch of the Lands Department during the early post colonial days and carried out a program on marine turtle conservation throughout PNG.

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