Alongside the annual celebration of the Philippine Environment Month, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here released six endangered female green sea turtles into the sea of Casiguran town in Aurora.
Merliza Torre, chief of the DENR Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Casiguran, said these green sea turtles were accidentally trapped in a fish corral owned by a local resident in Ditinagyan coastal village.
"Upon rescue, we immediately examined the turtles and found no injury incurred among them," Torre said, addding that the rescued turtles have an average carapace length of 42 centimeters.
Since the turtles were in good condition, Torre, along with other DENR personnel, and partners from the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office of Casiguran, Aurora State College of Technology and Samahang Bantay Kalikasan ng Casiguran, immediately released the turtles into the sea.
Mary Jane Aragon, forest technician of CENRO Casiguran, explained that turtles were tagged to primarily identify them as "individuals."
She added that tagging sea turtles provided information on population trends, habitat residency, movement patterns, individual growth rates, and reproductive life history, which were vital factors in marine turtle conservation.
Since January of this year, Torre reported that the DENR here has released 53 green sea turtles in the waters of Casiguran. Forty-four of these were tagged, while the other nine turtles were untagged due to immaturity.
"Our green sea turtles are important to our ecosystem. Their existence is an important indicator of a balanced and healthy marine life," Torre said, urging local residents to help the DENR in protecting marine species and other wildlife.
She likewise appealed to the public to report activities, especially illegal trade of wildlife, to the DENR.
Of the seven species of marine turtles in the world, five of them are found nesting in the coastal towns of Morong in Bataan, San Antonio in Zambales and in the coastal areas of Aurora.
Section 27 of the Republic Act 9147, also known as the "Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act," prohibits collecting, hunting and possessing of wildlife and their by products and derivatives.
Anyone found guilty of violating the wildlife law shall be imprisoned to a maximum of two years and shall be fined of up to P200,000, if inflicted against endangered species. (-30-)