Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rare giant turtle dies after rescue attempt by DENR

Lianga, Surigao del Sur - A rare giant turtle was rescued by a joint team of DENR and LGU personnel at the shores of Diatagon in this municipality on Friday, February 6, 2009 but died shortly due to severe wounds , a report reaching the Office of the Regional Executive Director for DENR Caraga Region Edilberto S. Buiser recently.
CENR Officer Romeo L. Luengas of Lianga, Surigao del Sur said the 300-kilo giant Leatherback Turtle ( Dermochelys Coriacea ) was rescued from the hands of a group of fishermen in that coastal village by the personnel of CENRO Liangao and the Lianga Emergency Assistance Network ( LEAN ) led by the town’s Vice Mayor Robert “Jun” Lala, Jr. but nevertheless died due severe wounds.

The leatherbackback giant tortoise measures about 69 inches long. Its carapace has a width of 30 inches and a length of 57 inches.

“We failed to save the giant turtle from dying. It just died probably due to suffering from exhaustion and dehydration caused by deep wounds on her neck “CENRO Luengas said.

According to investigation conducted by vice mayor Lala , the giant turtle was found by the fishermen in the seas in near the shores of Barangay Ganayon in Lianga, Surigao del Sur trying to struggle her way to the dry lands probably to lay her eggs.

The report said the turtle got entangled on the fishnet of some fishermen who were fishing at that time. But it bore several wounds including a deep cut on her dorsal neck either inflicted though the use of a sharp spear or a fan blade from a motorboat when it was spotted on the seas.

The fishermen, however, had tried to tow the turtle to the shore to butcher it but before they could deliver the final blow, the DENR-LGU team arrived at the scene and took the wounded turtle to a temporary shelter at the Surigao del Sur Polytechnic College (SSPC) under the care of a biologist. But their effort failed to revive the weakening turtle.

Report said the said giant turtle is considered by the government of the United States as an endangered species.

Compared to other giant turtles which have bony hard plates on their shells (Carapace), the leatherback turtle is slightly flexible and rubber texture. No sharp angle form between the Carapace and under-belly. It is barrel-shape and may grow bigger.

The largest leatherback turtle was found on the West Coast of Wales in 1988. It weighed about 916 kilos. (Herzon F. Gallego, DENR-13)

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