THE two pawikan (sea turtles) that beached in San Fabian and turned over to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) center in Dagupan City in 2016 and 2017 were released back to the sea on Oct. 6
Sen. Grace Poe, who was in Pangasinan, joined the release of pawikan arranged by BFAR Dagupan Center Chief Westly Rosario and Samahan ng Industriyang Agrikultura chairman Rosendo So.
Poe named the two pawikan, both female, as Urduja and Flora. Urduja is the legendary heroine of Pangasinan while Flora is the character portrayed by her mother, actress Susan Roces, in the longest-running television teleserye Ang Probinsyano.
Sen. Grace Poe and BFAR chief Rosario hold “Flora”
SINAG chief So Urduja holds Urduja
before releasing them to the sea.
“Flora (in the teleserye) has a long life like turtles that live up to more than 100 years,” she said laughing, referring to her mother’s role in Ang Probinsyano.
Poe told local reporters her mom also had a pet turtle that she took care of and the two reminded her of her pet.
“These sea turtles add to the eco-balance of the sea and these have a long lifespan. These are also considered as a lucky charm and some collect them but of course, it’s good to have them released back to the sea,” she added.
The two pawikan are both from the Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) species and were both collected in San Fabian Beach. They were separately turned over by San Fabian Police and one Eduardo Dulay. Both weighed 15 kilograms (kgs) each.
Meanwhile, Rosario said most of the sea turtles turned over to BFAR came from San Fabian, considered as the nesting ground for sea turtles.
He said in 2011 they released pawikan at the Hundred Islands in Alaminos City but it was eventually seen in San Fabian.
He said pawikans are important as they eat jellyfish that causes harm to beach swimmers. “If we don’t take care of them, there will be no balance of our eco-system as stated by Sen. Poe,” he said.
Rosario said 20 years ago, sea turtles were wantonly slaughtered or sold but the practice eventually stopped after fisherfolk became more aware and educated on the turtles’ role in ecological balance.
BFAR Dagupan has already released eight turtles turned over by concerned citizens back to the sea. (PhilStar Wire Service)
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