Sea turtles rescued in southern Palawan
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan, June 21 (PIA) -- The Philippine National Police (PNP)-Maritime Special Boat Unit (SBU) recently rescued 17 sea turtles in a hidden swamp in Ameril Island, Barangay Rio Tuba in Bataraza, Palawan.
There were 13 hawksbill and four green turtle species recorded with the biggest measuring 59 cm and 46 cm width carapace. All are classified as critically endangered species under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list.
Acting on validated information from the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) and the local community, PNP-Maritime SBU led by Major Rodolfo Gonzales conducted surveillance of the island which resulted in the discovery of the hidden swamp used as stocking area of sea turtles by illegal poachers. No one was watching over the turtles when the operatives conducted the rescue.
Maj. Gonzales said that based on intelligence reports, a Chinese national has always been seen in the island, enticing local residents to catch turtles and transport these to a Chinese vessel located near the boundary of Malaysia and Balabac.
The PNPâMaritime SBU is presently perfecting documentary requirements for submission to PCSDS for filing of cases in violation of Wildlife Act and the Fishery Code of the Philippines against respondents.
The Narrazid family owns the 17-hectare Ameril Island, home to about 50 fishing families. The 17 sea turtles were released back to the open seas by representatives of the PCSDS and DENR after being measured, weighed, and tagged. (PCSDS/TBO/VSM-PIA 4B, Palawan)
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