PUERTO PRINCESA CITY — Marine troopers stationed in Southern Palawan rescued 14 abandoned live sea turtles locally known as “pawikan.”
Troops from the Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT)-4 rescued the turtles on May 13 in Barangay Mangsee Island in Balabac, following information from residents of Mangsee Island, who do not want the sea turtles harmed as they are considered critically endangered.
Captain Wanel Ansa of the MBLT-4’s Environmental Management and Civil Military Operations said Thursday, May 18, that “good community-based intelligence report and joint interagency response resulted in the rescue of the abandoned live sea turtles.”
The sea turtles were found with thin ropes tied around their flippers to prevent them from escaping to the sea.
He added they were kept from plain sight in an area near the shores that is covered with thick bushes.
”No suspect was found,” said Ansa, adding the sea turtles were also released with the help of a Navy patrol ship and personnel of the 2nd Special Operations Unit-Maritime Group in Balabac.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, “human activities have tipped the scales against the survival of these ancient mariners. Nearly all species of sea turtle are classified as endangered. Slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin and shells, sea turtles suffer from poaching and over-exploitation. They also face habitat destruction and accidental capture in fishing gear. Climate change has an impact on turtle nesting sites. It alters sand temperatures, which then affects the sex of hatchlings.” (PNA)