Friday Nov, 22 2019 11:10:43 AM

DENR-12 releases Hawksbill Turtle in Sarangani Bay

Climate Change/Environment • 13:30 PM Thu Nov 7, 2019
DENR-12 Regional Executive Director Dr. Sabdullah C. Abubacar and other DENR officials release the Hawksbill Turtle in Sarangani Bay.(Photo by DYBalindong)

GLAN, Sarangani - A Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) commonly known as "Pawikan", returned to its natural habitat after it was released on Thursday noon, October 31 in Sarangani Bay by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 12 and its partners.

DENR-12 Regional Executive Director Dr. Sabdullah C. Abubacar, CESO IV, Sarangani Provincial ENR Officer Renato C. Domingo, Glan Community ENR Officer Abdul D. Cariga, Sarangani Bay Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) Joy C. Ologuin, Marcelino W. Tangaro, Jr., some personnel from DENR-12 and Philippine National Police (PNP) Maritime Glan and other partners witnessed the releasing of the turtle at the coastal area of Purok Nacolil, Barangay Lago in Glan town.

According to the records, the marine species has a curved carapace length (CCL) of 43cm and curved carapace width (CCW) of 38cm before it was released.

The said turtle which was washed ashore in Brgy. Cablalan last June 16, 2019, was rescued by a concerned citizen and immediately turned-over to the authorities.

Based on reports from CENRO Glan, an examination was immediately conducted by Dr. Neilsen Donato of GMA 7 Network's "Born To Be Wild" TV series, who happened to be in Glan on the said date documenting the turtle nesting incidents in Burias.

He noticed that the Pawikan was weak but found no bruises or wounds.

Dr. Donato together with the DENR and PNP Maritime personnel also discovered that the marine turtle was suffering from gassy intestines and foreign elements inside its body after performing a diagnostic x-ray (radiograph) examination.

Due to the deficiency of materials needed, Dr. Donato decided not to perform a surgery and assigned Dr. Vernie Rino L. Asperga, a resident municipal veterinarian of Glan, to administer medicines and take charge in the turtle’s recovery.

In a statement, Dr. Asperga said that the Pawikan naturally extracted the foreign elements during its rehabilitation.

Dr. Asperga enumerated the seagrass leaf sheath, chunks of green and brown algae, and squashed barnacle shells in the turtle's first fecal extraction since its rehabilitation.

CENRO Cariga and PASu Ologuin said that the DENR and its partners tried to release the Pawikan on June 27 but they returned it to the CENR Office due to turtle's erratic behavior caused by the buoyancy disorder on the left part of its body.

They also transferred the marine turtle to Belmar Ecopark, a Wildlife Farm Permit (WFP) holder for a Mini-Zoological in Glan, due to the resort's suitable holding tank to do appropriate medications especially on the turtle's buoyancy disorder.

Tangaro, the resort's owner, temporarily assumed the responsibility of the marine turtle's rehabilitation from July 9, 2019 until it was released recently.

PASu Ologuin said that her office observed various plastics and other waste materials that may harm marine species during their regular monitoring activities in Sarangani Bay.

"There were incidents that some marine species died due to the foreign elements like plastics and other non-biodegradable materials entered the bay," PASu Ologuin said.

Dr. Abubacar disclosed that the DENR has already trained scuba divers from various partner local government units (LGUs) and other stakeholders to help the DENR in the regular monitoring of the actual situation of the bay.

He also appealed to the public, especially the communities in coastal areas, to manage their wastes properly to minimize the incidents of injured and dead marine species caused by improper waste management and disposal.

"Protecting the Sarangani Bay is not the sole responsibility of the DENR but the obligation of all the stakeholders," Dr. Abubacar said. (MMMaulana)



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