“The call to stop illegal wildlife trade and poaching has never been as urgent as that of today,” says Tirso P. Parian, Jr., Regional Executive Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region VIII. Director Parian issued this statement with the recent release of marine turtles by the Department in coordination with its custodian,
the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police.
The two Green Sea Turtles were turned-over to the patrolling elements of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Regional Maritime Unit of the Philippine National Police under the command of Police Major Glenn Michael Amoyen on March 29, 2020 at Brgy. Anibong, Tacloban City. These were handed to them by a certain Florencio Amarillo who claimed that both sea turtles got tangled to his fishing net while fishing at Cancabato Bay on the same day.
“The turn-over of two (2) juvenile Green Sea Turtles by a responsible fisherman to the proper authorities is a beacon of hope in these trying times,” says Director Parian.
Upon assessment by DENR technical personnel, one of the Green Sea Turtles bore tag number 1315K. Records from the Conservation and Development Division show that it was previously captured, tagged and released to Cancabato Bay in September 8 of last year. Its Curved Carapace Length (CCL) was at 17 inches while the Curved Carapace Width (CCW) was at 15 inches. The other was untagged, and so a tag with 1727M identification number was pinned for identification and monitoring prior to its release. The Curved Carapace Length and Curved Carapace Width of this turtle measured 17 inches and 16 inches, respectively.
Having been assessed as fit to be released, members of the PCG, PNP Maritime Group and personnel from the DENR brought the sea turtles to an uninhabited coastline of Cancabato Bay, San Jose, Talcoban City and successfully released it back to the bay on March 30, 2020.
“The fact that the Green Sea Turtles were not butchered but turned-over to the authorities is highly commendable and speaks a lot about the maturity of some residents in supporting our wildlife conservation efforts. Both juvenile green sea turtles were female and so there is hope that their population will continue to increase,” says Gimelina L. Parmis, Zoology Technician of DENR who made the assessment of the captured Green Sea Turtles.
Under Sec. 27 and 28 of R.A. 9147 or the “Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act,” the injuring, killing, collection and trading of wildlife is prohibited and any violation thereof is punishable with a fine of as low as Php1, 000.00 to as high as Php5,000,000.00 and/or an imprisonment of 1 month to as long as twelve years, depending on the classification and status of the wildlife.
According to the World Wildlife Organization (WWF), Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) are among those listed as endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).They are described as a large and weighty turtle with a wide and smooth carapace. They have an average life span of up to 80 years, can grow up to 5 feet and weigh up to more than 300 kilos. Adult Green Sea Turtles as herbivorous while as juveniles, they also eat invertebrates like crabs, jellyfish and sponges.