Tuesday Nov, 19 2019 06:01:34 AM

DENR 12 to protect SarBay, sad over death of marine animals

Climate Change/Environment • 22:30 PM Thu May 9, 2019
Rowanne Sumagpao/DENR-12
Dead turtle stranded in Queen Tuna Park, General Santos City (Credits to SBPS Megafauna Response Team, 2019).

KORONADAL CITY – 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 on May 3, Friday.

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.

Regional Executive Director Nilo Tamoria of DENR-12 has ordered the PASu to boost up monitoring activities in Sarangani Bay to avoid the recurrence of the incident.

“The death of pawikan may signify that there is something wrong in the marine ecosystem," Tamoria said.

"Their presence is a manifestation of a rich and a clean marine environment but if they die, something is wrong,” 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,” Tamoria said.

Further, Tamoria urged local officials to enforce Republic Act 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act and avoid using single used plastics.

“There is a relentless campaign to free our sea 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.

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. (Rowanne H. Sumagpao/DENR XII)

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