A critically endangered hawksbill turtle rescued by a fisherman from barangay Pugaro is surrendered to the city agriculture office on July 10 and is set for release in the open sea of the Lingayen Gulf by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
According to Emma Molina, city agriculturist, the turtle is supposed to be released on Tuesday (July 11) but was delayed due to a bad weather condition spawned by typhoon “Florita.”
Molina said that the about 4-year-old turtle, locally known as pawikan, is considered priceless as it is listed among the critically endangered marine species and believed to be on the verge of extinction.
Based on the official measurement of CENRO employees, the turtle is 15 inches long and 13 inches wide.
City administrator Raffy Baraan and Marlyn Banda, community environment and natural resources (CENRO) chief of protected area and wildlife section, attached a corresponding metal tag in its flippers for reference purposes to its would-be captors.
Baraan said that the city government will give a special citation award to the fisherman who saved the endangered turtle identified as Nonong Narvasa.
”The incident shows that the fisherfolks in the city really care about our marine resources,” Baraan said.
According to Molina, the hunting and killing of marine turtles as well as disposing their meat or any of their by-products is punishable by law pursuant to Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act or R.A. 9147.
She added that the national law for the protection of sea turtles imposes imprisonment and penalty to those found guilty of catching, selling and slaughtering the endangered aquatic creatures.
Some of the listed endangered turtles include the green turtle, loggerhead turtle, leatherback turtle and olive ridley turtle. (Leziel T. Cayabyab)