According to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) majority of the earth’s wetlands have been lost which includes the habitat of these fresh water turtles.
“We’ve converted large amounts of our forests, we’ve converted large amounts of our grasslands, we’ve lost 87% of our wetlands… we’ve really changed our land surface in the last several hundred years,” IPBES chairman Robert Watson said.
There are 104 new whale sharks spotted on the coast of Donsol in Sorsogon between January and June 2019, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
This has been the highest number of whale sharks spotted compared to the period between 2017 and 2018, where only 22 new whale sharks were identified.
“Each whale shark can be identified based on the unique pattern of spots behind its gills, which serves as a “fingerprint” for identification. Just as no two human fingerprints are alike, no two whale sharks have the same spot pattern,” according to the WWF website.
The whale shark or Rhincodon typus is classified as endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on their Red List of Threatened Species.
“The whale sharks were sighted during this year’s photo identification activities conducted by WWF-Philippines. In the first half of this year, 168 individuals – with 64 re-sightings alongside the 104 newly identified ones – were noted,” the WWF added.
WWF-Philippines Donsol Project Manager Manuel Narvadez, Jr. said the increase in the number of new whale sharks spotted in Donsol is because the water is now rich in plankton.
“These whale sharks that pass by Donsol aren’t just important due to their value to local tourism. More than that, they play an important, systemic role in providing resilience to the local ecosystem,” he said.—AAC
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Bicol has reported 95 hatchlings of hawksbill sea turtle were released in the waters of Sitio Imacoto Cagmanaba, Oas, Albay on Wednesday (Sept 4).
The hawksbill turtle or Eretmochelys imbricata is among the critically endangered sea turtles in the world.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the hawksbill turtles are among the marine creatures that help maintain the health of coral reefs.
“As they remove prey such as sponges from the reef’s surface, they provide better access for reef fish to feed. They also have cultural significance and tourism value,” the WWF said.
Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) Guinobatan Officer Narisol C. Divina appealed to the public to be their partner in protecting marine turtles to save marine life.
“The DENR needs the concern and support of the community and stakeholders on the protection of our marine biodiversity to scale up the Pawikan conservation program of the Department,” she said.
According to the DENR Bicol, the coastal waters of Sitio Imacoto, Oas is part of the Ticao Burias Pass Protected Seascape (TBPPS), a marine protected area with very rich marine biodiversity, which offers a suitable nesting habitat for sea turtles.—AAC
The International Coastal Cleanup began more than 30 years ago in Texas. The first clean up was led by two individuals, Linda Maraniss and Kathy O’Hara.
The DENR said September was declared a National Clean Up Month by virtue of Proclamation No. 244 signed on Sept. 3, 1993 while World Clean and Green Week is also observed from Sept. 17-23 every year.—AAC
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