Cover Image
close this bookBasic Concepts in Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources Management: An Information Kit (IIRR, 1993, 151 p.)
close this folderIntroduction
View the documentUse of workshop
View the documentWorkshop participants
View the documentSupport staff
View the documentGlossary of commonly used environmental terms
View the documentList of references
close this folderEcological basics
View the documentEcosystem degradation
View the documentHabitat and niche
View the documentThe food chain
View the documentBiological magnification
View the documentNitrogen cycle
View the documentSociety and the carbon-oxygen cycle
View the documentHealth consequences of environmental degradation
View the documentPopulation and the environment
close this folderFreshwater and marine ecosystems
View the documentFreshwater ecosystems
View the documentEstuarine-mudflat ecosystems
View the documentSeagrass ecosystems
View the documentMangrove ecosystems
View the documentCoral reef ecosystems
View the documentHuman intrusions into the water cycle
View the documentDiversity of coastal and marine resources
View the documentPhilippine marine fisheries
View the documentMarine turtles
View the documentMarine food web
View the documentOcean pastures
View the documentThe menace of algal bloom
View the documentRed tide (Dynamics and public health aspects)
close this folderForest ecosystems
View the documentTropical forest -ecosystems
View the documentProtected areas: a tool for biological diversity conservation
View the documentEnvironmental effects of overexploitation for fuelwood in nearshore coastal resources
View the documentBiological diversity: and wildlife conservation
View the documentWildlife trade
close this folderGlobal warming and acid rain
View the documentClimate change and the greenhouse effect
View the documentHow deforestation contributes to the greenhouse effect
View the documentAcid rain
close this folderPollution
View the documentToxic and hazardous wastes
View the documentPollution and long-term effects on the human body
View the documentUrban pollution: The metro Manila environment
View the documentMining operations: environmental effects on soil, water, communities and atmosphere
View the documentPesticides: environmental and health effects
close this folderOthers
View the documentPhilippine commercial energy sources, 1990
View the documentCommon property resources in crisis
View the documentDegradation of the uplands
View the documentLowland degradation
View the documentEnvironmental issues in animal production
View the documentPlant genetic resources
View the documentNatural hazards

Marine turtles

The marine turtles are fast disappearing. Once these animals are gone, they are gone forever. Among the reptiles, the turtles are believed to be the longest-living animals. Some species of turtles are known to live for as long as 200 years under normal conditions.

The turtles belong to the Order Chelonia, an order of reptiles over two million years old. They are characterized by a shell that encloses the vital organs of the body. The turtle shell consists of two parts: the carapace covering the back of the turtle and the plastron covering the belly.

Turtles are actually semi-aquatic and marine dwelling reptiles. The Philippines has both freshwater and sea turtles. The hard-shelled terrapins are strictly freshwater dwellers.

Life cycle of a marine turtle

There are three freshwater turtles found in the Philippines, namely the Malayan pond turtle, the Serrated-skelled pond turtle and the Leyte pond turtle.

Five out of the eight known species of marine turtles worldwide are found in the Philippines. These are the Olive Ridley Turtle, the Hawkshill Turtle, the Loggerhead Turtle, the Green Sea Turtle and the Leatherback Turtle.

Species of marine turtles

Sea turtles can be distinguished from their freshwater relatives by their paddle-like legs. They feed mainly on mollusks, fishes, crabs and also marine plants. These marine turtles can be found in the waters of Tawi-Tawi in the Sulu Archipelago, Tubattaha Reef in Palawan and Bantayan Bay in Cebu. They breed in marine waters but go offshore, such as sandy beaches, to lay their eggs.

The largest turtle in the world - the Leatherback Turtle - may be found in Malaysia, Australia and the Philippines. It derived its name from the texture of its skin which is leather-like.

Throughout the world, turtle meat has supplemented the diet of people. Added to this is the demand created to satisfy the cravings of people with exotic taste for turtle eggs and meat.

For many years, marine turtles have also been gathered for their precious shells, being one of the top exports of the Philippines. Today, stuffed turtles are also sold as wall decor and guitars are made from resistant turtle shells. The carapace of the marine turtles are made into combs, brush handles, eyeglass frames, buttons, jewelry and other accessories. Even the turtle hatchlings are being sold as pets. The freshwater turtles are not exempted from exploitation, they are also sold for their meat or as pets.

Products made from marine turtle