LEYTE, Philippines – A female green sea turtle with “large wounds” sustained from a motorboat propeller was found dead in Moalboal, Cebu, on Sunday, May 26.
The turtle was found around 6 am by John Ralph Adolana, a resident of the town. Green sea turtles have been classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as endangered.
“He reported [the incident] to the [personnel of the] dive shops who then called me since I live in Moalboal as well,” SMARTSeas PH project assistant Kristina Luz Tapales said.
According to an incident report by the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS), some of the turtle’s internal organs were already out of its carapace. TSPS is assigned to manage the entire Tañon Strait, the largest marine reserve in the Philippines.
Tapales told Rappler that the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office wasn’t able to respond upon reporting. She then reached out to the Biodiversity Management Bureau and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’s (DENR) in Central Visayas.
“The local DENR office here responded already since Gideon Esmero of DENR-CDD (Conservation and Development Division) gave them the order,” Tapales said.
TSPS marine biologists Aian Ree Gumop-as, Romualdo Hechanova, and Sweedin Selerio are trying to salvage what they can from the carcass of the sea turtle.
“They need to get the exact measurement (of the capace) and identification (of its sex). [These will be] forwarded to [DENR-CDD],” Tapales said.
This is not the first time that Tapales and other locals have observed propeller injuries on sea turtles.
“Last week, we saw another turtle with propeller marks, but thankfully, it wasn’t hurt badly. It was swimming around the shallow parts of Pescador Island,” Tapales said.
In a Facebook post, local diver Kalle Epp commented: “This makes it about  dead turtles in more or less  years. High time we do something about this if [we] want to keep them around.”
Epp told Rappler that 4 out of those 8 dead turtles had what looked like propeller injuries, one was stabbed, and the other 3 were caught for food by a fisherman from Alcantara town. – Rappler.com
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