Lockdown Allows Hawksbill Turtles To Prosper
HAWKSBILL TURTLES THRIVING – As most areas are under lockdown due to COVID-19, the endangered Hawksbill turtles now prosper in Misamis Oriental.
Because of the lack of humans, the turtles had an opportunity to nest undisturbed amid the lockdown. This is further emphasized as a whopping 246 turtle hatchlings were released back to the sea in the coastal areas of Candiis and Bonifacio Aquino.
According to Candiis Councilman Rolando Pagara, the head of the community’s turtle conservation program, this was a massive leap in the number of released turtles, doubling that of last year.
What’s more impressive is that this was just the first 6 months of the year. According to an article from Inquirer, Pagara stated:
If we combine the number of turtle hatchlings released in May and June this year, we come up with 573 turtle hatchlings,”
“We can say that this is the largest number of hatchlings released over the past five years and we are just in the first six months of 2020
Along with this, Pagara also noted the faster incubation period for the Hawksbill turtle. He explained that it usually took the turtles 60-65 days to hatch. However, since the lockdown began in early March, this time was shortened to just 46 days.
This is important as the Hawksbill turtle is one of the most endangered turtle species in the world. As per the article, the species’ population has declined by as much as 80% in the past decade.
As such, the trade and capture of this animal would result in violations of Republic Act No. 9147, or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act. The law aims to protect wildlife and the destruction of their nests.
Along with this, violators could also be fined around P100,000 to P1 million. Additionally, violators of the law could be imprisoned for up to 12 years.