An Asian Giant Softshell Turtle (Pelochelys cantorii) also known as Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle was recently turned over to the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) Sorsogon.
Mr. Rolan J. Dio, a resident of Barangay Bibincahan, Sorsogon City, informed the PENRO Sorsogon about the turtle to which the Office responded immediately.
According to Dio, he saw the said wildlife along the highway near his residence and rescued it because it was posing potential danger to travelers.
Upon inspection, the PENRO Sorsogon technical staff identified the said species and informed Dio that it should be turned over to the Office as it belongs to the invasive alien species (IAS). It was then brought the wildlife to the Irosin Temporary Wildlife Rescue Center (ITWRC) for rehabilitation in Barangay Patag, Irosin, Sorsogon.
Under Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2019-09 titled, “Updated National List of Threatened Philippine Fauna and their Categories”, the Asian Giant Softshell Turtle is listed under the Other Threatened Species (OTS). Likewise, all wildlife in the Philippines are protected under Republic Act No. 9147, otherwise known as the "Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act".
Moreover, the softshell turtle is identified as part of the IAS under Technical Bulletin No. 2013-02 titled, “Information on the Collection and Control of the Population of Chinese Softshell Turtles, An Invasive Alien Species, in All Affected Regions”. According to the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), recent reports showed that the overpopulation of the wildlife species poses a potentially significant threat to the Philippine endemic and indigenous farm species.
The DENR V continuously calls on the public to report such incidents and turnover any wildlife to proper authorities for proper handling and release to its natural habitat. Continuous information, education and communication (IEC) campaigns are being conducted by the DENR, which have caused increasing numbers of public turn overs to the office. (With report from PENRO Sorsogon)