The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here released to the seas of Zambales some 800 hatchlings of olive ridley sea turtles, scientific 𝘓𝘦𝘱𝘪𝘥𝘰𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘺𝘴 𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘢𝘤𝘦𝘢, during the annual celebration of ‘Pawikan Day’ that promotes marine turtle protection and conservation efforts.
Regional Executive Director Ralph Pablo reported that the DENR provincial office in Zambales, along with PawiCare, All Hands Beach, and the team from USAID Philippines Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans, and Landscapes (SIBOL) Project, released the hatchlings in Subic Bay and the coastal areas of San Narciso and Masinloc towns.
"Our olive ridley sea turtles are important to our ecosystem. Their existence is an important indicator of a balanced and healthy marine life," Pablo said, urging communities to help the DENR in protecting marine species and other wildlife.
He likewise appealed to the public to report illegal activities, especially wildlife trade, to the DENR.
The olive ridley sea turtle is one of the five marine turtle species that can be found in the tropical oceans of the Philippines, particularly nesting in the coastal towns of Morong in Bataan, San Antonio in Zambales, and in some 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-)