THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) reported an increase in nesting sites for marine turtles to 17,593 last year, offering relief to conservation efforts for the endangered species.
Five out of seven species of marine turtles, locally known as pawikan, can be found in the Philippines.
Amid the protection efforts, the pawikan remain endangered and are threatened by hunting and poaching, trade, pollution, climate change, and many more. Recently, photos of distressed and dead marine turtles have been splashed all over the news, pushing the need for greater monitoring of Philippine seas.
These marine turtles provide large contributions to balancing biodiversity in the world’s oceans. They facilitate nutrient transfer from water to land and vice-versa, thus providing healthy ecosystems in both water and land.
To help conservation groups and advocates, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has partnered with the DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) to launch the “Response Manual to Marine Turtle Incidents.”
Developed in partnership with the Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines through a grant program by GIZ’s Adaptation to Climate Change in Coastal Areas (ACCCoast), the manual provides ways of responding to incidents involving pawikans. The manual discusses a broad range of topics including the pawikan’s biology and the proper way by which to release the captured and distressed turtles back to sea.
A guide for technical staff, researchers, and conservation advocates, the manual also provides responses to marine turtle reports such as poaching as well as rehabilitation and necropsy procedures.
The launching of the Response Manual to Marine Turtle Incidents is supported by GIZ’s Support to the Implementation of the Tri-National SSME Comprehensive Action Plan (GIZ-SSME), a project commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).
The manual will soon be available on the DENR-BMB website. Other manuals to be launched by GIZ and DENR-BMB in the future includes rescue manuals on sharks, rays, and other marine mammals. The online versions of the manuals may be downloaded at mwwphilippines.org/category/mwwp-publications/.