Jan 19, 2021

Bikers save stranded marine turtle on a rocky beach

Seaman Karl Aman Caabay, 24, and pet shop owner Kevin Rey Caabay Palmares, 26, said they were pedaling and on their way home from the Sabang waterfalls when they came upon the young turtle lying on its back desperately wriggling to regain mobility.

Bikers Karl Aman Caabay and Kevin Rey Caabay Palmares rescue the juvenile turtle from Sabang beach on December 17. | Screen grabbed from the video clip shared to Palawan News

A juvenile sea turtle that got stranded on a rocky beach near the Underground River National Park in Barangay Cabayugan was successfully rescued and brought back to the water by two city bikers on Thursday.

Seaman Karl Aman Caabay, 24, and pet shop owner Kevin Rey Caabay Palmares, 26, said they were pedaling and on their way home from the Sabang waterfalls when they came upon the young turtle lying on its back desperately wriggling to regain mobility.

“Narinig ng pinsan ko na si Kevin na parang may nagka-clap sa beach so nag-check kami kung saan banda,” Karl said.

“Kasi maputi ‘yong ilalim ng pawikan kaya madali niyang (Kevin) nakita. Parang pinipilit niyang (pawikan) bumaliktad kaso nandoon siya sa part na walang tubig parang matagal na siya roon kaya medyo mahina na siya, nabilad sa araw sa tuyong part,” he said.

Realizing the turtle needed help to get back to the water, one of them carried the marine mammal to find a spot to release it, a process that took nearly half an hour before successfully releasing the struggling turtle back into the water.

Karl later admitted they know little about sea turtles but knew right away when they saw one that it would die if it did not get help because it couldn’t recover its proper position where it could go back to the water.

Kevin, a pet shop owner who loves dogs, said he was naturally drawn to the pawikan.

“Kaya ang makakita kami ng ganito talaga ay hindi namin puwedeng palagpasin. Maliit lang din yong pawikan, parang nasa 20 inches siguro more or less tapos may mga gasgas ‘yong likod niya kasi napalo sa bato ng alon kaya nanghina na rin siya. Pero sabi ng mga bantay doon, parang every hapon sila kumakain kapag mahina ang alon, inabutan ata siya ng malakas na alon kaya na-stranded siya doon,” he added.

“Wala kasing part na mahina ang alon, meron lang part na hindi masyadong malalaki ang bato. Doon namin siya binitawan para makabalik siya. Hinintay namin, pinanood namin siya ng 30 minutes hanggang sa nawala na siya papunta sa malalim na part,” he said.

Karl said that helping the pawikan made their trip to Sabang Falls worthwhile.

“Yung ride parang maling desisyon pero noong nakakita kami at nakatulong kami sa pawikan, parang sulit din. Kaya tayo pinag-bike dito para may tulungan dito, nagkaroon ng purpose ‘yong ride namin,” Karl said.

Elizabeth Maclang, park superintendent of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP), said that sea turtle sightings are common in the waters of Sabang because it abounds with food.

She thanked Karl and Kevin for helping the juvenile sea turtle.

“Nakita namin sa page ng Palawan News. Noong napanood namin ay hindi pa una namin ma-identify kung saan. Pero noong nakita na namin ang area ay sa Sabang area pala, nag-assume na kami na malapit ito sa waterfalls. Dahil malalaki ang bato… yong panahon ngayon maalon, nasa time ng amihan, yong bugso ay malakas talaga dahil open sea nga ‘yan kaya baka yon ang dahilan na na-stranded at napadpad sa batuhan,” she said.

“Nagpapasalamat kami sa kanilang dalawa. Gusto namin sila makilala kasi pasasalamatan namin sila. Puwede nga sana nila na i-ignore na lang ang pawikan, total isang pawikan lang naman. Pero nakita nga nilang nakatihaya at kanilang tinulungam. Ang ginawa nga nila kahit risky, madulas ang bato ay nag-effort sila na gawan ng paraan para maibalik ang kawawang pawikan. Marami kasi tayong klase ng pawikan at area na iyan ay makikitaan talaga, minsan nakakasabay pa yan ng boats,” she added.

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