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The Reason Why We Should Protect Endangered Species in Philippines

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Sea turtles are the utmost endangered kind of turtle here in the Philippines. These reptiles already existed since pre-history and they are entitled as the “living fossils”. Turtles have always been exposed to ocean pollution from eggs to hatchlings to their adulthood. Most species of turtles are in the Philippines and they are primarily the victims of human waste and different pollutants that include toxic metals, petroleum products, oil spills from industrial infrastructures and the vessels petroleum discharge. Sea turtles die from ingesting plastics from us and foods that have been contaminated by oil or chemicals that are harmful for them. These reptiles already existed since pre-history and they are entitled as the “living fossils”. Pawikans extinction has many causes but the main problem is the commercial exploitation. They catch it alive and distribute their parts to make different products that we humans got mostly the benefits.

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Human activities have raised the scale against the survival of these ancient mariners. Almost all species of sea turtles are classified as endangered because of eliminating their eggs, meat, skin and shells. The destruction of the habitats of Hawksbill Turtles is part of the major list of threats to the reptiles’ possible extinction. The demolition of their habitats is due to man-made developments like building beach resorts and climate change. Beach resorts often have seaside hotels and the light coming from these establishments are artificial which discourages female turtles from nesting. Natural lighting coming from the moon or the sun guides female turtles and their hatchlings on where to hatch and where is the right path going to the ocean. Failure of these turtles to nest their eggs in the dry land will cause them to drop their eggs in the ocean. On the other hand, eggs who have been successfully hatched in the land, but, within the surroundings of these beaches who have street lights, can easily be manipulated by the artificial light. Scientists believe that baby turtles have a natural instinct of coming out of their nests where the bright light leads them. Hatchlings that comes out of their nests due to the artificial light will lead them to the streets where the possibility of them surviving is low.

The effects of climate change, which is majorly made by humans, can also give a great impact to their territory. The negative effect it gives to their habitats is that when the sea level rises, the nesting sites of the turtles will be affected since the incubation of their eggs relies on the temperature. It changes sand temperature, which can affect the gender of hatchlings. The nesting grounds of turtles are important to them because it is like home to them. Even years after not coming back to their nests, they will still remember the exact place of their nesting site because it is imprinted in their memories, but, due to human activities on the beaches, the habitat of sea turtles becomes unsuitable for nesting.

Coral Reefs, which is an important food contributor to sea turtles are also affected by the climate change. Warmer temperature causes a “bleaching” effect to coral reefs which can result in decreasing of algae or zooxanthellae that naturally lives in their tissues. 90% of coral reef’s energy are provided by algae’s and the reduction of it to coral reefs may put them into starvation which can put their lives in danger. Less coral reefs, less supply of food to sea turtles, which can increase the chances of extinction.

Extinction of these reptiles in our world is a big loss to us humans and to our world history. The future of Hawksbill Turtles or any endangered species in general, is in our hands. There are several of ways that we can protect them and ways of how we can properly treat them. We can do simple things like properly throwing our trash to the right place. Do not just throw them anywhere you want. People who have their vacations on beaches should know proper discipline and help the environment clean. Reducing or disregarding the use of plastics will bring so much help to the environment especially to the sea turtles and other species living in the ocean. Jellyfishes are sea turtles’ main prey and sea turtles might think that those plastics that are floating around the ocean are jellyfishes and might consume them. We can also support conservation centers that create programs that provides protection and support to sea turtles. A conservation center like Pawikan Conservation Center in Morong, Bataan who offers various projects about sea turtles. in like Another small way to help our environment and slow down climate change is to reduce the usage of carbon footprint like unplugging devices that are not in use, creating your own small garden and driving less.

The population of sea turtles in the world is diminishing due to man-made disasters in the environment like ocean plastic pollution, destruction of habitat of the animals and illegal poaching of their meat, shells and eggs. Philippines is one of the trending topic country in terms of biodiversity due to its rapid rate of biodiversity loss.

Sea turtles are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems. They help maintain the health of sea grass beds and coral reefs that benefit commercially valuable species such as shrimp, lobster and tuna. Sea turtles are the live representatives of a group of reptiles that have existed on Earth and traveled our seas for the last 100 million years. Turtles have major cultural significance and tourism value.

Eating the eggs and meat of marine turtles is still active throughout the country. Also, the unabated development of many coastal areas is destroying beaches, the nesting sites of marine turtles. Other problems threatening marine turtle population are marine debris and plastic pollution causing numerous deaths. Poor enforcement of environmental laws, particularly the law against wildlife trafficking, is a big problem in the Philippines. On September 11 elements of the police arrested six fishermen for possession of 23 live marine turtles, assorted dried fresh turtle meat and turtle shells, in violation of Republic Act 9147. The DENR is currently developing networks of marine-protected areas to boost its ongoing conservation program for marine turtles. Government's program are ongoing and give a big impact to our marine life. If we cooperate with them that would be easy to help and protect not only to those turtles also in entire marine life.

Evidently, threats to marine turtle survival must be reduced to avoid the negative economic consequences of marine turtle declines. Our estimate of global conservation expenditure confirms that human societies are concerned and willing to invest to recover marine turtle populations. Also, most marine turtle values can be maintained currently. However, consumptive use has often resulted in over exploitation of marine turtle populations with negative effects on marine turtle values and other sites. Replacing such consumptive uses of marine turtles with non-consumptive uses where feasible, will ensure continued economic benefits and simultaneous marine turtle recovery.

Governments, international agencies and non-governmental organizations can reduce over exploitation of marine turtles by creating local economic incentives in favour of effective conservation. Such economic incentives, once in place, will add value to the marine turtles and thereby encourage measures to mitigate additional threats, such as habitat destruction and fisheries by catch. Actions should be aimed at conserving marine turtles in the wild as it is a less costly strategy than captive breeding. Financial support conservation action should come, at least partly from the economic benefits derived from marine turtle use. Revenue from non-consumptive use is already being reinvested into marine turtle conservation at some site, thus pointing at a promising avenue to consolidate such funding.

Economic considerations are likely to persist as the driving force behind local decisions concerning marine turtles use in coastal communities of developing countries. Therefore, conservation strategies Money Talks: Economic Aspects of Marine Turtle Use and Conservation 35 to recover marine turtles must envision and include tangible, local economic benefits. The economics of marine turtle use and conservation illustrate one approach to reverse the positive feedback mechanism between poverty and environmental degradation.

References

  1. Elliot, B. (2014, June 16). Photos: Help Save Sea Turtles with These Five Simple Steps. Retrieved from Oceana: https://oceana.org/blog/2014/06/photos-help-save-sea-turtles-with-these-five-simple-steps
  2. Help Protect Sea Turtles! (n.d.). Retrieved from SEETurtles: 7 Instant Ways To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
  3. Holth, J. (2017, June 6). 7 Instant Ways To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint. Retrieved from Huffington Post: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/7-instant-ways-to-reduce-your-carbon-footprint_us_59321992e4b00573ab57a383
  4. Information About Sea Turtles: Threats From Climate Change. (n.d.). Retrieved from Conserve Turtles: https://conserveturtles.org/information-sea-turtles-threats-climate-change/
  5. Tacio, H. D. (n.d.). ENVIRONMENT: MARINE WILDLIFE FACING EXTINCTION: PAWIKAN (First of Three Parts). Retrieved from EDGE Davao: http://edgedavao.net/bigger-picture/2018/06/20/environment-marine-wildlife-facing-extinction-pawikan-first-of-three-parts/?fbclid=IwAR0DpxuQ242E6FbZiMOCJAtIWcKlA2JBWXfM5q6F2l_h-wVn4he_1VWbCDM
  6. Mayuga, J. (2017, October 15). Protecting the endangered 'pawikan'. Retrieved from: https://businessmirror.com.ph/protecting-the-endangered-pawikan/
  7. Troeng, S. and Drews C. (2004) Money Talks: Economic Aspects of Marine Turtle Use and Conservation: https://mobil.wwf.de/fileadmin/fm-wwf/Publikationen-PDF/Meeresschildkroeten_Money_Talks_Studie_04.pdf?fbclid=IwAR28kAOulIC9FOMd_ph51OcI7DB2eWKC71j2Cos5szghJibWMANoNipvZwc

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