Photos: Ginatilan Police Station, via SunStar Cebu Facebook

Philippines: Sea Turtle found dead in Ginatilan
12th December 2017;

A Sea Turtle, about 60 years old, was found dead on Monday morning, December 11, in the seawaters off Barangay San Roque, Ginatilan, Cebu.

Municipal Environment and Natural Resources officer John Rosen Ferraren said the Turtle either died of old age or it was hit by a disease.

He said the Turtle, which weighed more than 100 kilos, may have been dead for several days.

The Turtle’s length is a little over 100 centimeters and nearly a meter in diameter.

Police are looking into the possibility that the marine mammal was killed by a poacher.

Fishermen who retrieved the turtle found a rope tied around its neck. The front right and rear flippers were missing, while the internal organs were rotten.

Baho na kaayo ang pawikan,” Ferraren said in a phone interview.

They buried the Turtle in a lot in San Roque rented by the Municipal Government.

Ferraren said Turtles often frequent their marine sanctuaries of San Roque and Poblacion.

He said they often remind fisherfolk not to catch endangered species and the municipal personnel conduct regular inspection in the market.

Source: Sun.Star Cebu

This is likely to be a Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas).

Photo: Kalle Epp Facebook

Philippines: Cash reward dangled for info on Turtle killer
By Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon & Le Phyllis F. Antojado, 2nd December 2017;

A P50,000 cash reward has been dangled by Moalboal Mayor Inocentes Cabaron for anyone who can give information on the whereabouts of the individual who killed an endangered Green Sea Turtle.

“We are offering P50,000 to any person who could give the information leading to the identification and arrest of the person or persons involved,” Cabaron said in a text message to Capitol reporters.

The Turtle’s dead body was found on the shores of Barangay Basdiot in Moalboal town, southern Cebu Wednesday morning. A spear gun, a fishing gear banned in the town, wound was found on the dead Turtle’s neck.

The dead Turtle was turned over to the Provincial Environmental and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) for further investigation. It measured 60 centimeters in length and 30-60 in weight.

Based on initial observation, Romel Kirit, PENRO senior environmental specialist, said the Turtle had been dead for at least a day before it was found by the locals. The PENRO is now coordinating with the local government of Moalboal to trace the culprit/s behind the Turtle’s death.

The Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) is listed as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).

Under Republic Act 9147, harming and killing endangered animals, including the pawikan, is punishable by law. Those who kill a Sea Turtle or any wildlife species listed as critically endangered species shall be imprisoned for six to 12 years and is mandated to pay a fine of P100,000 to P1,000,000.

On his Facebook page, Kalle Epp, claimed they found a dead Green Sea Turtle on a coral reef near a resort in Moalboal.

Epp, who expressed outrage over the killing, has appealed to officials to investigate the illegal poaching activities in Moalboal.

“The Turtle killed is one of the Green Sea Turtles which are a major tourist attraction, protected by national and local laws. We appeal to officials to investigate the illegal poaching activities and senseless slaughtering of protected marine life for sport in Moalboal” reads part of his post. Epp also reported to authorities the alleged increasing number of people, local and foreign, who engage into spear gun hunting.

Lauded

Greenpeace Philippines has lauded the efforts of various sectors in raising the alarm on the “gross killing” of the Sea Turtle in Moalboal, a dive spot in Cebu province known for its rich marine life.

“It is condemnable that some people are trying to kill the very thing that maintains the health of the ocean including the one that brings in additional income to various sector in the municipality,” said Vince Cinches, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace.

He urged the communities to protect the Green Sea Turtles and other wildlife species as they play a critical role in promoting ecological balance and enhancing biological diversity. Cinches urged the local government to come up with clear steps to prevent such “gruesome” incidents in the future by regulating activities in the area, including but not limited to spearfishing and recreational fishing.

Also, restrictions to some activities, including expansion of fishing gear registration, he said.

“We also would like to suggest to and request from the municipality to increase enforcement capacity and to allocate needed resources to inform the public on activities that are allowed in the area,” he said.

To monitor the entire town, he said a multi-stakeholder or sector be constituted to help achieve the objective of protecting the waters of town and the rest of Tañon Strait.

“Moalboal is such an abundant destination both for local and foreign visitors, and hopefully others in the future can enjoy it,” he said.

Tañon Strait is restricted from commercial fishing to protect and conserve marine resources. It is a 161-kilometer strip dividing the provinces of Cebu and Negros Island. The strait is one of the largest and most productive Marine Protected Areas in the country, hosting 63 percent of the country’s coral species and 14 types of Whales and Dolphins. It also provides food and livelihood for 42 towns, cities and municipalities

Source: The Freeman

The dead Turtle that was found by divers in Moalboal.
Photo: Kalle Epp Facebook

Philippines: Moalboal mayor offers P50K reward to find Turtle’s killer
By Morexette B. Erram, 1st December 2017;

Mayor Inocentes Cabaron will give a P50,000 cash reward to those who can provide information leading to the identification and arrest of person/s responsible for the killing of a Green Sea Turtle (pawikan) (Chelonia mydas) in Moalboal town, southwest Cebu last Wednesday.

“We are offering P50,000 to any person who could give information leading to the identification and arrest of the person or people concerned,” Cabaron said in a text message yesterday.

In a follow-up phone interview, the mayor said, this is the second time a Green Turtle was killed intentionally. The first one, he said, happened in 2006 or 2007 wherein a person smashed the head of the creature with a bottle.

“Our constituents were outraged. And we (from the local government) felt the same. This is why we are offering a P50,000 cash reward because killing the Green Sea Turtle is a blow to our tourism industry,” he stated.

Data from the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) revealed that there are at least four sanctuaries in the waters of Moalboal town that became world-famous diving spots.

Initial reports from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR–7) and the Tourist Police of Moalboal showed that the reptile was found by divers floating dead with a wound believed hit by a spear gun in Sampaguita Reef off the coast of Barangay Basdiot, Moalboal.

DENR–7 information officer Charmi Regudo told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview that the agency’s Tañon Strait Protected Seascape task force is still verifying the cause of its death.

She also said that they are still conducting investigation on the matter.

Regudo said that according to the tourist police unit, the Turtle would have been dead for around three to four days before it was found by divers.

“The dead Turtle was already turned over to the Bantay Dagat on Thursday,” said Regudo.

Spear gun fishing is banned in marine sanctuaries in Moalboal, located more than 88 kilometers southwest of Cebu City.

The photo of the dead Green Turtle posted on Kalle Epp Facebook page last Wednesday, went viral and generated more than 7,300 reactions from netizens and shared across the platform at least 3,230 times.

“We have found a dead Turtle this morning at the coral reef near Sampaguita, not far from our dive shop. By all means it looks like it has a spear gun wound in the neck. We are outraged!” the photo caption reads.

Meanwhile, Penro also offered to help trace the killer of the Green Turtle.

Rommel Kirit, Penro senior environment manager, said they were now coordinating with the local officials, law enforcers, fisherfolks’ organization, and owners of diving shops to obtain information about the incident.

“While DENR–7 is probing the matter, we will help by tracing the hunter,” said Kirit.

Kirit said that the Bantay Dagat in Moalboal buried the Turtle yesterday morning since it was already in a state of decomposition.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Spear gun victim. A Sea Turtle lies dead on the shores of Basdiot, Moalboal, Cebu.
Photo: Kalle Epp Facebook

Philippines: DENR-Central Visayas to probe sea turtle death
30th November 2017;

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Central Visayas is set to investigate an incident in Moalboal town wherein a pawikan or Sea Turtle was found dead on the town’s shores earlier this week.

Dr. Eddie Llamedo, DENR-Central Visayas public information officer, told SunStar Cebu that they have tasked the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS) to investigate who the culprits are behind the killing of the turtle in Barangay Basdiot, Moalboal.

On his Facebook page, Kalle Epp, a netizen, claimed they found a dead Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) in a coral reef in Sitio Tongo, Barangay Basdiot earlier this week.

A spear gun wound was found on the dead Turtle’s neck.

“We are outraged! Since several weeks we have seen an increase in people, local and foreign, coming to Moalboal for spear gun hunting as a sport and reported this to authorities,” Epp said, in his post.

Epp has appealed to officials to investigate the illegal poaching activities in Moalboal.

Cirilo Tapales, Barangay Basdiot chief, told SunStar Cebu that the dead pawikan has been turned over to the town’s tourist police.

Tapales believes that fishermen from other barangays may have speared the Turtle at night to avoid detection.

Tapales said spear hunting is illegal in Moalboal.

Llamedo said hunting Sea Turtle especially within marine protected areas like the Tañon Strait is illegal, according to Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act.

A fisherman caught violating RA 9147 could spend jail time of up to 10 years or pay a fine of P500,000 for each Sea Turtle that he or she kills.

Llamedo also reminded the municipal government of Moalboal to boost up its monitoring activities on their coastal waters to avoid such incidents.

Sea Turtles are considered critically endangered under the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

“The presence of a pawikan is a sign of having a healthy marine ecosystem and we need people and fishers who take care of them while they travel for forage or nourishment,” Llamedo added.

Source: Sun.Star

Photo: Kalle Epp Facebook

Philippines: Sea Turtle found dead in Cebu
By Annie Perez, 30th November 2017;

Divers on Wednesday found a pawikan (Sea Turtle) dead at the Sampaguita Reef in Barangay Basdiot, Moalboal, Cebu, apparently succumbing to wounds on its face and neck.

Renato Vidal was manning a pump boat full of divers when a floating Hawksbill Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) caught their attention. When they approached, they found out that the Turtle was already dead.

They suspect the Turtle was a victim of spear fishing.

Moalboal police have yet to determine if the Turtle was wounded on its own or was intentionally harmed.

Under Republic Act 9147, harming and killing endangered animals, including the pawikan, is punishable by law.

Moalboal Police chief Senior Insp. Jose Rovic Villarin said they are still investigating the matter.

Marine life advocates in Moalboal are now calling on the public to stop harming marine life, especially the pawikan.

Beth Balane, a dive guide, said marine life is also for the next generation to see.

The dead Turtle was turned over to the Provincial Environmental Office for further investigation.

The town of Moalboal is a dive spot in Cebu province known for its rich marine life.

Source: ABS-CBN News

TURTLE KILLED IN MOALBOAL

We have found a dead Turtle this morning at the coral reef near Sampanguita, not far from our dive shop. With by all means looks like a spear gun wound in the neck. We are outraged!

Since several weeks we have seen an increase in people, local and foreign, coming to Moalboal for spear gun hunting as a sport and reported this to authorities. The Turtle killed is one of the Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) which are a major tourist attraction, protected by national and local laws. We appeal to officials to investigate the illegal poaching activities and senseless slaughtering of protected marine life for sport in Moalboal. We offer our full support in the investigation and protection of Moalboal’s marine life. The Turtle is handed over to local authorities for determine the exact cause of death.

Source: Kalle Epp Facebook