CITY OF ILAGAN, Isabela -- Environmentalists are revving up their conservation drive to protect the Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) with the scheduled launching of a mascot named after the critically endangered species in Dinapigue, Isabela on August 15.

“The Hawksbill sea turtle, which is the flagship species of the marine sector of the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park (NSMNP) in Isabela, will be highlighted to protect the species from extinction as we will launch its mascot in coastal Dinapigue town,” Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office information officer Racquel Caldez told the Philippine News Agency in an interview on Tuesday.

Themed “Together for our Sea Turtles: Protect. Preserve. Prosper,” the mascot launching will be led by environment officials.

Other activities are a mascot parade, interactive games, and poster-making competition, she added.

Hawksbill sea turtles typically grow up to three feet in length and weigh around 80 kilos on the average. The turtle's shell, or carapace, has an amber background patterned with an irregular combination of light and dark streaks, with predominantly black and mottled-brown colors radiating to the sides.

To promote the turtle’s relevance, an in-house survey of flagship species identification was initiated for the Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Management Program (CMEMP), leading to the development of the mascot.

A survey was conducted within the NSMNP to determine the acceptability of the developed mascot’s attractiveness, its gender, and its official name.

Pre-testing was done in the municipalities of Palanan, Maconacon, Divilacan, and Dinapigue and was participated in by LGU officials, teachers, students, fisher folk, people’s group members, and non-government organizations.

Target participants during the launching are those who frequently encounter sea turtles, the youth who will serve as future warriors and implementers who support projects and movements to protect and preserve marine resources and creatures. (PNA)