ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 23 June) – Thirty-eight hawksbill sea turtle hatchlings were released last Saturday at the shoreline of Alegria, a coastal barangay in Baliguian town, Zamboanga del Norte.
The Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) team of Siocon Conservation and Development Section (CDS) personnel, Alegria Barangay Chairman Ma. Cecilia Asani and fisherman Amad Maguindan released the hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) hatchlings at Alegria’s shoreline last June 20.
Maguindan earlier detected the hatchlings at an identified nesting site previously fenced and secured by CENRO Siocon on May 6 this year to protect it from scavengers and stray animals.
The fisherman reported his discovery to Asani, who immediately relayed the information to CENRO Siocon. Upon arrival at the area, the CENRO Siocon CDS Team discovered the healthy hatchlings and immediately released them to the sea.
Hawksbill sea turtles are classified as “critically endangered” by the International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). A study shows a crisis category that such species, among other things, are characterized by having sustained an observed, estimated, inferred or suspected reduction of at least 80 percent over the last 10 years or three generations.
An adult hawksbill sea turtle, according to National Geographic, may grow as much as 24 to 45 inches in shell length, weighing 100 to 150 pounds, and has a lifespan of 30 to 50 years.
Hawksbill turtles are protected by international agreements like the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Convention on Migratiry Species.
In line with the continuing implementation of the 10 Priority Programs of Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, specifically under enhanced biodiversity conservation and scaling up of coastal and marine ecosystems, CENRO Siocon intensifies the conduct of information, education and communication (IEC) campaign in coastal communities to mobilize them to help protect and conserve the environment. (Frencie Carreon / MindaNews)