“The presence of pawikan is a manifestation of a rich and a clean marine environment and their death may signify that there is something wrong in the marine ecosystem.” – Director Nilo Tamoria
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region XII will intensify actions on the need to protect Sarangani Bay alarmed on the death of at least three sea turtles on the shores of Sarangani.
DENR Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) of Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (SBPS) Joy C. Ologuin revealed that there were several incidents on the death of marine animals for the past few months.
The DENR is really alarmed on the reported stranding of marine animals not only turtles as well as dugong and other marine wildlife,” PASu Ologuin said.
“We have organized the SBPS Megafauna Response Team, an inter-agency task force composed of private companies, local government units and other volunteers to protect and conserve marine animals,” said Ologuin.
DENR XII Regional Executive Director Nilo Tamoria has ordered the PASu to boost up monitoring activities in Sarangani Bay to avoid the recurrence of the incident.
“The presence of pawikan is a manifestation of a rich and a clean marine environment and their death may signify that there is something wrong in the marine ecosystem,” said Dir. Tamoria.
“This would also call for a massive information and education campaign to the coastal community and to ascertain that they will not violate Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act,” Director Tamoria said in a message.
Further, Tamoria urged local officials to educate coastal communities on proper solid waste management.
“There is a relentless campaign to free our seas from marine debris, this Month of the Ocean underscores. Trash may not be the sole cause of death of marine animals but it surely affects the health of the marine ecosystem,” Tamoria said.
Moreover, through the hotline numbers of the PASU-SBPS, the DENR and the local government units were able to respond immediately to the stranding incidence.
“It is worth noting that the local citizens are able to reach out to the concerned offices through the hotline numbers. This would mean immediate feedback on marine stranding,” PASU Ologuin said.
On May 3, Friday, a text message was sent at 8:00 A.M. reporting on a stranded Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea), at Brgy. Suli, Kiamba, Sarangani Province with an open wound at the base of its left fore flipper.
On the same day at 3:00 in the afternoon, a decomposed female Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) was washed ashore at Queen Tuna Park, Brgy. Dadiangas South, General Santos City.
Sarangani Province -Environmental Conservation and Protection Center (ECPC) said that pawikan had a missing right fore flipper and spilled intestines.
Considering the turtle’s rotting condition, the PASu-SBPS Office, ECPC, and the Local Government Unit of General Santos City agreed to take morphometric measurements of the dead turtle before burying it.
Moreover, at 3:59 in the afternoon,another turtle stranding at Zone 5, Brgy. Bula, General Santos City was conveyed.
The on-site investigation revealed that the stranded specimen was most likely a male Olive Ridley Turtle. The cause for uncertainty was due to the turtle’s highly emaciated condition, and its carapace/shell was heavily covered with algae.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the Olive Ridley Turtle is a Vulnerable Species with a decreasing population trend worldwide and the Green Sea Turtle is classified as an endangered species with also decreasing global population.