More sharks endangered—IUCN Red List

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 31, 2019   •   2769

Shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus) | Courtesy: Mark Conlin, SWFSC Large Pelagics Program

More sharks are now endangered according to the updated Red List Assessments of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

According to the Shark Specialist Group (SSG) of the (IUCN), 17 out of the 58 species of sharks and rays are already classified as threatened of extinction.

“Our results are alarming and yet not surprising, as we find the sharks that are especially slow-growing, sought-after, and unprotected from overfishing tend to be the most threatened,” said Professor Nicholas Dulvy, SSG Co-chair based at Simon Fraser University.

Among the species of sharks listed as endangered includes the Shortfin Mako Shark, Longfin Mako Shark, and the Greeneye Spurdog.

“The threats to sharks and rays continue to mount and yet countries around the world are still falling far short of their conservation commitments, particularly with respect to basic limits on catch,” according to Sonja Fordham, SSG Deputy Chair based at Shark Advocates International.—Aileen Cerrudo

Leatherback sea turtle found dead in coastal waters of Bohol

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 13, 2020

A dead leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) was found floating in the coastal waters of Talibon, Bohol.

Leatherback sea turtles are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and are considered as critically-endangered in the Pacific and Southwest Atlantic.

The Talibon Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office, and the City Environment & Natural Resources Office (CENRO) buried the leatherback sea turtle but later exhumed and turned it over to the National Museum for preservation. Samples were also taken for genetic analysis for further study.

“This is the first recorded stranding incident of leatherback in the province,” the Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Management Program (CMEMP) said in a post.

The CMEMP also said that leatherback turtles are named for their shell, which is leather-like rather than hard, like other turtles. They are the largest sea turtle species and also one of the most migratory, crossing both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. AAC

From greeting cards to abaca face masks, local company joins COVID-19 fight

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 12, 2020

In response to the limited supply of personal protective equipment (PPEs), a local company in Misamis Oriental decided to make face masks out of abaca.

The transition has not been easy, according to Neil Rafisura, president of Salay Handmade Products Industry, Inc.

It takes numerous and tedious process in order to create a face mask out of abaca. This is a challenge for Neil especially with the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

They are used to creating greeting cards and other similar products. It never crossed their minds before that their company would make any PPEs such as face masks. However, that did not stop them from helping the country’s frontliners in their fight against the COVID-19 virus.

“At first it’s very challenging because ang skills namin ay hindi ready (our skills were not ready), it involved a lot of sewing but then there are a few workers who know how to sew, so tinawag ko sila at nag-experiment kami, (so I called them and we did an experiment),” he said.

Based on initial research abaca face masks are seven times better than cloth face masks. Even though it will not surpass surgical and N95 face masks yet, Neil is optimistic that the abaca face masks would help frontliners and even ordinary citizens against the virus.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region 10 said this is a great start for further research. They are also encouraging experts to look into the potential of abaca face massks.

“We are calling researchers kung gusto niyo mag-research about mask (if you want to research about mask) why not study with abaca face mask kasi mayroon na siyang initial study baka maging potential talaga at effective na face mask itong abaca, (because there is already an initial study and abaca face mask might have a potential and might be more effective)” according to DOST-10 Science Research Specialist 1 Julie Ann Baculio.

The abaca face masks is environmental-friendly, reusable and can be hand-washed. It is sold for P90 apiece. AAC (with reports from Weng Fernandez)

LOOK: Drone footage of largest green turtle gathering in Great Barrier Reef

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 10, 2020

Researchers of the Raine Island Recovery Project has captured a drone footage of the largest green turtle gathering in the Great Barrier Reef.

Footage of thousands of green turtles were captured in Raine Island by researchers through unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Raine Island is known as the world’s largest green turtle nesting site.

Green turtles are known to migrate long distances between feeding grounds and the beaches from where they hatched. They are classified as endangered species due to the loss of nesting beaches, hunting, and over-harvesting of their eggs.

Researchers found that using UAVs is a more efficient and accurate way to document the said endangered species.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing Director Anna Marsden said in a media release that more accurate data can contribute in saving marine life and their habitat.

“We’re taking action to improve and rebuild the island’s nesting beaches and building fences to prevent turtle deaths, all working to strengthen the island’s resilience and ensure the survival of our northern green turtles and many other species,” he said.

The Raine Recovery Projects aims to protect and restore the island’s critical habitat. AAC

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