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

A Hawksbill Turtle was found last Saturday afternoon in Bato, Toledo City, weakened allegedly by a blow to the head. It was later taken to the San Carlos Biology Station in Barangay Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City, but died of its injuries yesterday morning. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

Philippines: 3 days after rescue, hurt sea turtle dies
By Jessa J. Agua/RHM, 2014;

A 30-year-old female sea turtle rescued Saturday in Barangay Bato, Toledo City died yesterday, environment authorities said.

The Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) suffered contusions and was already “very weak” when turned over by residents to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and later to the University of San Carlos Biology Station in Lapu-Lapu City, where the protected sea animal died.

According to a report submitted by Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS) Assistant Protected Area Superintendent Lutheran Hernando, the injured sea turtle was rescued July 19 in the afternoon by fisherman Lino Flores, who told DENR that the turtle was near the shore.

A physical examination by Hernando found out that the sea turtle sustained contusions in the head apparently from a blow by a hard object.

The turtle was initially turned over to Toledo City Bantay Dagat members Cromwel Dino and Eve Macapobre.

“This is the second time in three months in a similar location this year that we found a sea turtle with serious injury and is very weak,” said Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-7 Regional Executive Director Isabelo R. Montejo.

“We asked the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to assist us in the conduct of the necropsy to determine the cause of death and perhaps preserve the carapace of the turtle,” Montejo said.

The turtle, which has no existing tag when found, is now with the BFAR-7 for necropsy by a veterinarian.

Hernando said that seeing the turtle’s fragile physical condition, he brought her to the San Carlos Biology Station in Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City in the morning of July 21.

Yesterday, however, caretaker Rey Tobias found the turtle already dead around 8:30 a.m.

The turtle was more than 30 years old, weighed about 30 kilograms, measured 76 centimeters in length and 74 centimeters in width.

Last May 11, an adult female Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas), which was found with four gunshot wounds in her carapace was rescued and later released three days after.

Hawksbill Sea Turtles are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Montejo said killing, destroying, inflicting injury, trading, collecting, hunting, and possessing critically-endangered species is punishable under Republic Act No. 9147, or the “Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001.”

An investigation is underway to determine if someone is responsible for the injury of the sea turtle that led to its death.

Under the law, anyone who is involved in killing a sea turtle or any wildlife species listed as critically endangered shall be imprisoned for six years to 12 years and is mandated to pay a fine of P100,000 to P1,000,000.

Also, anyone who is involved in illegal trading and selling of wildlife species shall be imprisoned for two years to four years and is mandated to pay a fine of P5,000 up to P300,000.

In addition, anyone who is involved in collecting, hunting and possessing wildlife species shall face two to four years imprisonment and a fine of P30,000 up to P300,000.

The same penalty applies to anyone who eats the meat or destroys the habitat of these endangered species.

Source: The Freeman

Although identified as a Hawksbill Turtle in this article, the photos have led the Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines to conclude that this is actually a Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta).

Philippines: Dead sperm whale discovered near Pamilacan

By Ric V. Obedencio and Mike Ortega Ligalig, 1st March 2014;

A 10-meter Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) was found dead and floating nearby Pamilacan Island off this town, Wednesday morning.

Mayor Alvin Uy confirmed this incident to The Freeman, saying he had decided to have the dead whale buried after its decomposing body caused stench wafting around the area.

Uy, in an interview over station DyRD, said the body of the 5-ton whale will be excavated someday and have its bones restored to its original form. “The whale’s bones can be mounted as a special tourist attraction,” Uy said.

Jun Gultia of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said the agency was no longer interested to conduct an autopsy because it was established that the whale died of accidental bumping into a ship’s rudder, as evidenced by a long and deep wound on the animal’s belly.

Another source said a fisherman, identified as Alan Tapon, was the one who found the dead whale floating.

BFAR said that, aside from Sperm Whale, among the commonly-sighted marine animals found between the seas off Pamilacan Island and mainland Bohol are Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops sp.), Bryde’s Whale (Balaenoptera sp.), Risso’s Dolphin (Grampus griseus), Melon-headed Whale (Peponocephala electra), Pygmy Killer Whale (Feresa attenuata), Short-finned Pilot Whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus), Pantropical Spotted Dolphin (Stenella attenuata), Fraser’s Dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei), and Manta Ray (Manta sp.).

This town, where the oldest stone church is located but destroyed by the Oct. 15 earthquake, hosts the whale-watching in industry tourism during this season and summer months off the island.

Fishermen on the island used to catch Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) using harpoon years back but they are now into whale watching since ban on catching marine mammals took effect in the late 1990s.

Source: The Freeman

Philippines: Dead sperm whale discovered near Pamilacan