By Marie Tonette Marticio
TACLOBAN City – Two green sea turtles were turned over to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Regional Maritime Unit of the Philippine National Police in Barangay Anibong here.
The endangered species were handed to them by fisherman Florencio Amarillo who claimed that both sea turtles got tangled in his fishing net while fishing at Cancabato Bay recently.
“The turn-over of two juvenile green sea turtles by a responsible fisherman to the proper authorities is a beacon of hope in these trying times,” Tirso Parian, Jr., Regional Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 8.
Upon assessment by DENR technical personnel, one of the green sea turtles bore a tag with number 1315K.
Records from the Conservation and Development Division showed that it was previously captured, tagged, and released to Cancabato Bay on September 8 last year.
The other was untagged, and so a tag with 1727M identification number was pinned for identification and monitoring prior to its release.
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 and successfully released back to the bay.
Gimelina Parmis, Zoology Technician of DENR who made the assessment of the captured green sea turtles said the fact that they were not butchered but turned-over to the authorities is highly commendable and speaks a lot about the maturity of some residents in supporting the wildlife conservation efforts.
“Both juvenile green sea turtles were female and so there is hope that their population will continue to increase,” she noted.
Under Sec. 27 and 28 of R.A. 9147 or the “Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act,” injuring, killing, collection and trading of wildlife are prohibited and any violation thereof is punishable with a fine P1,000 to P5 million and/or imprisonment of 1 month to 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 large and weighty turtles 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 are herbivorous while as juveniles, they also eat invertebrates like crabs, jellyfish, and sponges.