A Southeast Asian box turtle and a preserved Greater coucal were handed over to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) on Tuesday by concerned citizens in Puerto Princesa City.
A resident of Barangay San Miguel gave over the Southeast Asian box turtle (Coura amboinensis), while a naturalist and artist residing in the city turned over the preserved Greater coucal (Centropus sinensis), the PCSDS said in a statement.
The box turtle was found in April by construction workers near their construction site. It was then cared for by Herminio Badenas, who wanted to hand over the turtle to the PCSDS immediately but was unable to do so due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. When restrictions were lifted, he visited the PCSDS main office in Barangay Sta. Monica to give it.
William James Hunter, a resident of WESCOM Road in Puerto Princesa, discovered the preserved Greater coucal. Hunter was traveling from Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (PWRCC) in Barangay Irawan in early August when he spotted the bird, which was already dead, on the highway, according to the PCSDS statement. Hunter speculated that it may have collided with a passing car’s windshield.
Hunter then preserved the bird, as he had been taught in taxidermy at a young age. He initially wanted to hand over the specimen to the National Museum but was unable to because of the paperwork. He was then advised by Indira Dayang Lacerna-Widmann of the Katala Foundation, Inc. (KFI) to turn over the specimen to the PCSDS.
The Southeast Asian Box Turtle is listed as “Endangered” under PCSD Resolution No. 15-521, while the Greater Coucal is classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species.