About a year ago, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) proposed certain areas within Boracay as Critical Habitats. This means that there are a number of endemic and endangered species in parts of Boracay which have to be protected. Although the measure has yet to pass, efforts such as those enacted under the Boracay clean-up project have already begun to see results.
In fact, last May 1 the DENR office overseeing Boracay released 3 Hawksbill Sea Turtles back into the wild. Hawksbill Sea Turtles are a critically endangered species and one of the few places they inhabit is Boracay. The recent deterioration of the island infected the waters they live in and possibly injured their own wellbeing.
They were let loose on Puka Beach on the first day of the month, in celebration of the Month of the Ocean. The DENR cites the need to continue supporting conservation efforts of these species and the area:
Sea turtles need healthy oceans and are a “keystone species”. which means they are an important part of their environment and influence other species around them. They also play a huge role in maintaining a productive coral reef ecosystem and transports essential nutrients from the oceans to beaches and coastal dunes. If a keystone species is removed from a habitat, the natural order can be disrupted, which impacts other wildlife and fauna in different ways.
Director of DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau Dr. Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez confirms that the turtles are in well enough condition to be returned to their natural habitat. Rest assured, they will continue to monitor the safety of the turtles. She explains:
So we want them to grow in their natural habitat. Hindi iyong nasa loob lang ng isang aquarium or nasa isang palanggana (Not to live inside an aquarium or in a basin). And of course, that’s part of conservation. We want them to swim freely around, hopefully find their mate, hopefully reproduce.
They also seek to remind the public to leave said turtles alone should they come across them: “Don’t catch them. Don’t poach them or touch them. Just let them be.” However, should you see any endangered animals in unsafe conditions, report it to the DENR as soon as possible.
What do you think about this?
Photos courtesy of DENR6