Chelonia mydas Linneaus

Vertebrate - Reptile

Green Turtle; Pawikan
Endangered (IUCN)

A large sea turtle, its carapace measures 90 to 120 cm in length. The jaws are not hooked. It has two prefrontal shields on head. Shields of upper shell are not overlapping. It usually possesses a single claw on each limb. In life, it is olive brown or reddish brown in color more or less blotched or streaked with yellow. The shields on top of head are reddish brown and black at edges. The shields on sides of head are black. Its flippers are black and olive brown above and yellow to lemon below.

Found throughout the Philippines, this large reptile inhabits marine waters in tropical and subtropical seas. It nests on sandy beaches and the clutch size (number of eggs) is 100. While the adult moves thousands of miles away, the newly hatched turtles maybe preyed upon by larger vertebrates.

Rare, maybe due to over exploitation, the green turtle is one of the most valuable animals because of its tender flesh and its eggs. Others are stuffed as collectors’ items and decorative materials in souvenir shops.

During the 1980s, the former Ministry of Natural Resources established Baguan, Turtle Island, Tawi-tawi; Bancauan, Mapun, Tawi-tawi; Halog, Tanobon, El Nido; Kota and Panata in Palawan; Panagatan and the Municipality of Caluya in Antique Province as Marine Turtle Sanctuaries. (Administrative Order Nos. 8 s. 1982, 34 s. 1982 and 518 s. 1984)

At present, the Pawikan Conservation Project regulates the collection of turtle eggs by limiting both the numbers of collecting permits issued and the period of collection per season.

This page was last modified Tuesday, June 21, 2011
National Museum of the Philippines
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