An approximately 3-feet 𝒑𝒂𝒘𝒊𝒌𝒂𝒏, a Green Sea Turtle (𝐶ℎ𝑒𝑙𝑜𝑛𝑖𝑎 𝑚𝑦𝑑𝑎𝑠) 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 𝒑𝒂𝒘𝒊𝒌𝒂𝒏 that the team have documented.
Said 𝒑𝒂𝒘𝒊𝒌𝒂𝒏 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.