Pawikans survived the dinosaur age, threatened to extinction by humans
SEA turtles have inhabited the planet Earth long before humans. These resilient species of reptiles inhabited the Earth alongside dinosaurs some 110 million years ago.
Now, it is facing extinction with rapid development of coastlines, pollution of oceans and coastal areas, and human consumption.
There are over 200 species of turtles, but only seven species are known to live in the sea (saltwater). As one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world, five species are endemic to the Philippines.
These are the Hawksbill, Leatherback, Loggerhead, Green Sea and Olive Ridley. All there are listed in the red list or list of endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Across the archipelago these gentle reptiles are known as pawikan.
The Convention for International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) prohibits the trade of endangered animals and their by products.
A typical pawikan weighs between 180 to 210 kilograms.
The Green Sea Turtle is the most common species. Its color is similar to the Hawskbill, but its head is wider and blunt, unlike the Hawksbill which has a beak.
Development of coastal areas have disrupted the reproductive cycle of the pawikans.
Female pawikans have the peculiar characteristic of laying their eggs in the same place where they were hatched. After roaming the oceans for 20 to 30 years, they go back to their birthplace to reproduce. /Associate Editor BenCyrus G. Ellorin
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