The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 2 has recently released hatchlings of Olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) in the coasts of Aparri town in Cagayan.
The sea turtles or pawikan were released in Brgy. Punta by Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan, Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) Joselito Razon, and some technical staff.
According to Forester Razon, sometime in November last year, a female Olive ridley turtle was found by a local fisherman while walking along the beach. The said marine turtle was on its nesting activity when it was found. It was eventually tagged and released back to its natural habitat.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies Olive ridley turtle as vulnerable which means the species is threatened and considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
Under the DENR’s updated national list of threatened Philippine fauna and their categories, this marine species is considered endangered.
Following the release of the hatchlings, Director Bambalan has called on the local government and communities in the coastal towns to protect and conserve the coastal and marine ecosystems.
She appealed to the public to report to the DENR any unlawful activity that harm the marine turtles and all other wildlife resources including their habitats. “Collecting, hunting, trading and possessing of wildlife and their by-products and derivatives are punishable under Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act,” she emphasized.
The DENR Region 2 chief also reminded the personnel of CENRO Aparri of the agency’s mission. “We have to mobilize the barangay local government and the residents to clean the coastal areas of Punta,” she said as ocean pollution poses threats to marine species.
“Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act should be directly implemented by the local government units, but the DENR is responsible in monitoring the implementation of the law,” she explained.#