CENRO Urges Public Not to Capture Marine Turtles

VIRAC, Catanduanes, August 24 (PIA) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Community Environment and Natural Resource Office (CENRO) is asking the public not to capture marine turtles (pawikan) released to the sea by neighboring countries.

According to CENRO OIC Officer Luvimindo F. Chioco, our partners in Saipan had installed satellite transmitter on the back of three (3) green sea turtles last summer and released them to the ocean.

Based from the satellite tracking, one of the turtles named Kumiko was said to have been detected between Catanduanes and Guinahoan or Refugio island north of Caramoan, Camarines Sur.

There is a possibility that the turtle will also reach south Catanduanes waters. CENRO moreover advised the public especially those living in coastal communities not to capture the said turtles if ever they encounter such animal.

The turtles have transmitter on their back. It is advised that it would be better to just leave the sea turtle swim freely and do not remove the transmitter.

The said transmitter monitors the migration tracking of the turtle wherein data collected and gathered are essential for the conservation and protection of marine turtles.

Marine turtles have lived in the oceans for over 100 million years. They are an integral part of the traditional culture of many coastal indigenous peoples throughout the world.

Marine turtles migrate long distances between their feeding grounds and nesting sites. They have a large shell called a carapace, four strong, paddle-like flippers and like all reptiles, lungs for breathing air. The characteristic beak-like mouth is used to shear or crush food.

All marine turtle species are experiencing serious threats to their survival. The main threats are pollution and changes to important turtle habitats, especially coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangrove forests and nesting beaches. Other threats include accidental drowning in fishing gear, over-harvesting of turtles and eggs, and predation of eggs and hatchlings by foxes, feral pigs, dogs and goannas. (MAL/EAB,PIA Catanduanes)

by Edna A. Bagadiong

Source: Philippine Information Agency (PIA) - 24 August 2011