PALAWAN, Philippines – Environment authorities in this province went out to rescue an endangered Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) believed to have been hit by a boat propeller in Puerto Princesa City.
The Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) staff, who were working from home due to the Luzon-wide lockdown, quickly responded to the report of the stranded species along the shore of Sitio Barimbing in Barangay San Manuel recently.
The marine turtle was able to lift its head to breathe despite the cuts on its head. Its injury may have been caused by a boat propeller, making it unable to swim back to the sea, the response team noted.
“It might be disoriented due to the impact caused by the propeller,” Ma Vivian Soriano, chief of the CENRO Conservation and Development Section, said in a press statement on Tuesday, March 24.
The sea turtle’s curved carapace spanned 18.5 inched in width and nearly 21 inches in length, and weighed approximately 7 kilos. It had no tracking tag.
As advised by the Biodiversity Management Bureau, CENRO took custody of the turtle for further observation, before it was finally released on March 20.
A marine turtle tag with serial number PH0704E was then attached to its right flipper to track its movements and collect valuable information necessary for its protection.
The Green Turtle is on the red list of threatened species of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, meaning the species’ population is decreasing and its exploitation is internationally prohibited.
Regional environment chief Henry Adornado lauded the community for remaining “vigilant in protecting our valued species, even amid the threat brought by COVID-19,” the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that prompted the lockdown in Luzon and other areas in the country.
“It is also at this time that we recognize our frontline and skeletal staff who continue to render public service despite the risks,” Adornado added.
The environment department assured that its wildlife rescue teams wear personal protective equipment, and strictly observe the social distancing policy during its response activities. – Rappler.com