CABAGAN, Isabela, March 3 (PIA) - - -Two Asian Giant Softshell turtles (Pelochelys cantorii) and two Asian Box turtles (Cuora amboinensis) were released earlier today at Malasi Lake in this town as part of the celebration of the Wolrd Wildlife Day.
The release of the turtles was led by DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan, and Dr. Nielsen Donato, a wildlife veterinarian and host of the TV show Born to be Wild.
"We freed the turtles at Malasi Lake because it is a critical habitat, an ideal sanctuary for endangered species such as the Asian Giant Softshell turtles," Bambalan said.
The DENR Region 2 chief also reminded the public that collection, possession and trade of wildlife without proper permits are illegal and punishable by law under Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.
"Let us protect and conserve these species by reporting illegal activities through our hotlines or to the nearest DENR office in your area," she added.
Prior to the release, Donato conducted health checkup of said species including the identification of the classifications of the turtles that were turned over to the DENR.
The Chinese Softshell turtle captured in Baggao, Cagayan remains under the custody of the DENR at the Rogelio B. Baggayan Nature Park and Wildlife Center (RBBNPWC) in Tuguegarao City.
Said turtle is an invasive species which cannot be released because it may cause harm to other species. MDCT/PIA-2)