Cimatu urges to continue wildlife conservation amid pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu on Tuesday said the country’s wildlife preservation should continue even with the COVID-19 restrictions.
Cimatu described the sighting of a nesting sea turtle or “pawikan” in Zambales as an indication that wildlife conservation is possible during the pandemic.
“Even if we are faced with a difficult situation brought about by the threats of the disease, we must continue to strive to protect and preserve our endangered pawikan,” Cimatu said in a statement.
According to Cimatu, the sighting was “enough to motivate the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to carry on with its task of protecting the environment during these uncertain times.”
The DENR’s Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Olongapo City received a report that a sea turtle was spotted laying eggs at Aplaya Caarusipan Beach Resort in San Antonio town on the night of Nov. 28.
A team was immediately dispatched by CENRO to monitor and inspect the site.
The CENRO identified the sea turtle as an olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea), an endangered species classified under the DENR Administrative Order 2019-09 or the Updated National List of Threatened Philippine Fauna and their Categories.
According to Olongapo City’s CENR Officer Roger Encarnacion, the nesting site is located just in front of the beach resort and was “safe from possible destruction from tide.”
“Thankfully, we do not need to relocate the nest to a safer place. But as a precautionary measure, we placed multiple fences made from nets to protect the eggs from possible predators,” Encarnacion said.
Encarnacion assured that the team will regularly monitor the eggs and keep them away from poachers and illegal wildlife traders.
The CENRO also said it will conduct seminars for the local government unit staff and the resort employees.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.