An approximately 3-feet π’‘π’‚π’˜π’Šπ’Œπ’‚π’, a Green Sea Turtle (πΆβ„Žπ‘’π‘™π‘œπ‘›π‘–π‘Ž π‘šπ‘¦π‘‘π‘Žπ‘ ) was sighted wading in the seawaters of Bago-Tagaytay Reef, a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Bato, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.

The sighting occurred during an underwater assessment of the LGU Sta. Cruz alongside DENR XI- Conservation and Development Division’s Coastal Resources and Foreshore Management Section (CDD-CRFMS) last August 31, 2023. Accordingly, it is, by far, the largest π’‘π’‚π’˜π’Šπ’Œπ’‚π’ that the team have documented.

Said π’‘π’‚π’˜π’Šπ’Œπ’‚π’ was observed 25-feet underwater, in the midst of the seaweed farm of the said MPA. As reported by locales, the turtle is a resident of the area due to the abundance of seaweeds which serve as its primary food.

Green Sea Turtles are said to be the largest hard-shelled sea turtle and are the sole herbivorous, feeding on algae and seagrasses.

With its shrinking population, they are listed as endangered species due to the persistent threats of habitat loss, hunting, climate change and ocean pollution among others.

Of 7 sea turtle species identified around the world, the Green Sea Turtle is among the 5 species that are present within the Philippine waters. These marine reptiles can be out there for 50-100 years, outliving humans considering the latter’s natural lifespan.
These fascinating wildlife species are protected by the Philippine law through Republic Act 9147 or Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.

1 2019 Barry Mabini Top Photo

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) never ceases to purport strategic ways to campaign in the conservation of the country’s environment and natural resources particularly on its protected areas. Communication, education and public awareness (CEPA) has been wrapped in varied instruments to connect to people and effectively deliver the message on the importance of conserving nature and its biodiversity.

Mascot is one of those tools. Thus, the creation of β€œBarry”.

β€œBarry” the barramundi cod/ humpback grouper (Cromileptes altivelis) mascot was designed to educate the people particularly in the spanning community of Mabini, Compostella Valley Province about the abundance of this rare species within the Mabini Protected Landscape and Seascape (MPLS).

The humpback grouper is a pale-greenish brown, black-spotted fish tagged as naturally rare and high priced both in the international and local market- ranging from P 2,000- P3,000 per kilo.

This species, which is now the flagship species of MPLS, shelters in inner shelf reefs found underneath the Mabini waters. Although, its global distribution and population has been recorded as decreasing according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), their abundance has recently been recorded in the said protected area, which also reflects its β€œgood condition” coral cover.   

Through Barry, the DENR aims to open the eyes of the public on the presence of this rare and vulnerable species and the importance of conserving their home – the Mabini waters. Barry will be made visible during conducts of information drive to encourage the community to value the coastal and marine ecosystem and warn them about the consequences that entails illegal activities such as overfishing.      

The caricature was launched on June 2019 at the DENR Marine Center, Sitio Mampising, Brgy. Tagnanan, Mabini, ComVal.