Quezon City, Philippines—Marine turtles are biodiversity heroes because they facilitate nutrient transfer from ocean to land and vice versa. They got a much-needed boost on the International Day for Biological Diversity through the launch of the Response Manual to Marine Turtle Incidents by the Support to the Implementation of the Tri-National Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion Comprehensive Action Plan (SSME-CAP) project of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB).

ssme acccoast manual stakeholders 300x362Launch of Response Manual to Marine Turtle IncidentsThe manual, developed with the Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines through a grant from GIZ’s now-ended Adaptation to Climate Change in Coastal Areas (ACCCoast) project, presents the proper way to release captured and distressed turtles back to sea, to respond to reports of poaching, and to rehabilitate and perform autopsy on the turtles.

Five out of seven species of marine turtles can be found in the Philippines. They are threatened, however, by hunting and poaching, trade, pollution, climate change, and other challenges. With continued conservation efforts, the DENR last year reported an increase in their nesting sites. SSME wants to help sustain that trend under its mandate to protect marine resources in the Sulu and Celebes / Sulawesi seas and smaller seas in the Coral Triangle.

The manual will soon be available on the DENR-BMB website. SSME also plans to translate it for distribution in Malaysia and Indonesia, which are part of the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape. The project will also release rescue manuals for sharks, rays, and other marine mammals. #

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