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Climate change causes deaths of sea turtles, says PPSRNP

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan (PIA)—The increased sea temperature caused by climate change is seen as the top reason behind the deaths of sea turtles found along Sabang Beach in the first quarter of 2024, said Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP).

Park Superintendent Elizabeth Maclang said extreme heat is the observed reason, according to park biologists, which weakens sea turtles. PPRSNP recorded the deaths of three olive ridley sea turtles and one green sea turtle from January to March in Sitio Sabang, Barangay Cabayugan.

It is higher than the three deaths of sea turtles noted by the park management in 2023. 

“Kasi nanghihina sila sa sobrang init ng dagat. Ito madalas, aksidente na nasasabit sila sa fishing gear, fishing net ng mga mangingisda natin. Hindi naman sinasadya, pero so far, wala naman kaming mga insidente na kinakatay,” she said.

Most of the green sea turtles come from the Martafe area, while olive ridley sea turtles are those laying eggs in the Sabang area.

The dead green sea turtle found on March 14 along Sabang Beach was the largest among sea turtles recorded by the PPSRNP, with a size of 70 inches in width and 110 inches in length.

A dead green sea turtle found by PPSRNP team along Sabang Beach. (Photo by Rachel Ganancial)

Maclang said some sea turtles have unnoticed wounds once they are released after being trapped in fishing nets. The untreated wounds weaken sea turtles, which also lead to their deaths.

“Tapos ‘yong sugat ay hindi na gumagaling hanggang sa humina at mapadpad na sa pampang. That’s the time na makikita na lang sila ng management,” she said.

Even though there have been no reports of sea turtle killing yet in the area, Maclang also considers conducting further investigation to see if there are individuals involved in the deaths of sea turtles.

PPSRNP is only limited to documenting the deaths of sea turtles due to its lack of capacity to conduct necropsies.

“Nakakaawa ito, so far apat na na-document namin na namatay na sea turtle na napadpad dito—Nakapagtataka, ito ngayon ilang buwan lang, sunod-sunod talaga—Tingin ko kailangan namin mag-investigate,” she said.

Cabayugan is one of the barangays within the coverage of PPRSNP, which is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (RG/PIA Mimaropa - Palawan)

About the Author

Rachel Ganancial

Information Officer

Region 4B

Information Officer of PIA-MIMAROPA/ Palawan

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