MANILA, Philippines - This as the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau-Pawikan Conservation Project (PAWB-PCP) recently confirmed Sitio Agbaliga in Agpanabat, Romblon as a nesting site of the critically endangered hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), in addition to fi ve areas earlier declared as nesting sites of the marine animal.
People’s organization Pamamalakaya at Wastong Ingat sa Karagatan ng Agpanabat na Nagkakaisa (PAWIKAN) and Sentro para sa Ikauunlad ng Katutubong Agham at Teknolohiya (SIKAT) vowed to increase community awareness of the importance of a marine protected area to ensure the preservation of the hawksbill turtle.
PAWIKAN and SIKAT signed a memorandum of agreement with the local government of Romblon and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to
“catapult the marine turtle conservation efforts to greater heights.”
PAWIKAN assists in the building of effective marine sanctuary management, and promote participation in monitoring fish production and coral ecology, while SIKAT actively engages in community-based integrated area resource management and environmental policy advocacy.
The five other areas that had been earlier confirmed as nesting sites of the hawksbill turtle are Punta Dumalag, Matina Aplaya in Davao City; Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte; Hinatuan Bay in Surigao del Sur; Carmen in Agusan del Norte; and, Magsaysay in Misamis Oriental.
On the other hand, Tungawan in Zamboanga Sibugay and Talisoy in Virac, Catanduanes are declared nesting grounds of green turtle (Chelonia mydas), while Lian in Batangas; Morong and Bagac in Bataan and Zambales coasts are recognized nesting sites of olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea).
Two other species of marine turtles are present in the Philippines.
These are the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), and leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). However, according to the PAWBPCP, there are no records yet that loggerhead and leatherback turtles nest in the Philippines. Nevertheless, PAWB-PCP said these two turtle species “undoubtedly utilize our marine ecosystems as foraging grounds.”
PAWB-PCP said the hawksbill turtle is the most critically endangered of the five marine turtle species in the country.
But all these species of turtles are protected under the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act (Republic Act 9147).