BUTUAN CITY - An adult turtle was found lifeless and floating along Butuan Bay, near a marine protected area, on Sunday.
The lifeless turtle measured more than a meter long and about half a meter wide. It is estimated to have weighed more than 50 kilograms.
Butuan Bay is located near Carmen town, known to be a nesting area for marine turtles. Every year, turtles are found in these areas either trapped in fishnets, found dead or seen laying eggs in nearby shores.
In October 2012, a 5,756-hectare coastal area has been designated as "Carmen Critical Habitat for Marine Turtles," which covers the coastal barangays of Vinapor, Gosoon, San Agustin, Cahayagan and Tagcatong in Carmen, Agusan del Norte province.
Last February, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) designated a 612-hectare area in the town of Magsaysay, Misamis Oriental, as a critical habitat for hawksbill sea turtles, bringing to more than 6,300 hectares the total area being protected in Northeastern Mindanao to ensure the survival of the critically endangered marine species.
The designation of Magsaysay Critical Habitat for Hawksbill Turtles is embodied in DENR Administrative Order No. 2016-02, establishing the coastal barangays of Kandiis, San Isidro and Damayohan as wildlife critical habitats where a total of six nesting sites of hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricate) are found.
The turtle was found with wounds in the head and protruding eyes, which may provide clues to explain its death.
As of posting, authorities from the DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau have yet to check the turtle's carcass.
City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Norman Asugan of DENR Nasipit said he is sending his men in the area to check the lifeless turtle.