RELEASED. Environment personnel and other wildlife volunteers facilitate the release of two green sea turtles on Tuesday (Oct. 18, 2022) in Sitio Ayoyo, Barangay Caparispisan, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. The Pagudpud Pawikan Conservation Group urged the public to report any sightings of pawikan in their area. (Photo courtesy of the Pagudpud Pawikan Conservation Group)

LAOAG CITY – Two green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), weighing 18 kilos and 9 kilos each, were guided back into the sea on Tuesday with the help of volunteer wildlife responders and environment personnel from the local government.

Eduardo Angadol, forestry senior manager of North Luzon Renewables and a member of the Pagudpud Pawikan Conservation Group, said the turtles were accidentally netted by local fishermen in Caunayan village in Pagudpud town early Tuesday.

In coordination with the municipal environment office of Pagudpud town and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) based in the adjacent town of Bangui, the marine turtles were released on the same day.

When asked if the released marine turtles were properly tagged for identification, Angadol said "putting turtle clip tags on them was not possible because they were still young."

As October marks the onset of the pawikan nesting season in this part of Luzon, the conservation group is calling on the public to report any sighting or nestling of pawikan for documentation by the local government’s committee on agriculture and fishing.

Last Oct. 7, at least 89 eggs of marine turtles found in Taguipuro, Bangui were relocated to a secured hatchery maintained by the Northwind Development Corp. The move aims to keep them safe during high tide and protect them from predators.

Previously, the DENR and wildlife volunteers facilitated conservation and enforcement training in Pagudpud to help protect sea turtles.

The Pagudpud government is also studying the possible declaration of Barangay Saud and portions of Pagudpud as a marine sea turtle sanctuary to protect them from predators. (PNA)