Saturday July 21, 2018

Russian national charged for 'killing' an endangered sea turtle

POLICE filed charges against a Russian national on Wednesday afternoon, May 17, for allegedly killing an endangered Green Sea Turtle in a marine sanctuary in Masaplod Sur, Dauin town in Negros Oriental.

Charged before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office was Anton Likharev, 35, single, of Vladivostok, Russia, said Dauin Police Chief Bernabe Rubio.

The Russian national is now under detention at the Dauin Police Station. A bail bond of P40,000 was set for his temporary freedom.

Initial police investigation said around 9:50 a.m. Wednesday, Bantay Dagat member Froilan Bantayanon saw the foreigner inside the marine sanctuary.

Rubio said the Bantayanon Dagat noticed an unusual activity, prompting him to monitor the Russian national.

At first, Bantayanon thought the foreigner was just taking underwater photographs but later on, he saw Likharev allegedly trying to pull out something that looked like a spear, Rubio said.

The foreigner allegedly got out of the water and brought with him to the shore something that was concealed in a towel.

Bantayanon approached the foreigner and when the towel was removed, he saw the Green Sea turtle with a spear on its head.

The turtle weighed nine and three-fourth kilos.

Bantayanon said he introduced himself to the suspect and took custody of the spear gun and the turtle, which, unfortunately died due to the fatal injury.

The fish warden then called Dauin Mayor Neil Credo and informed him about the incident.

Mayor Credo instructed the Dauin police to immediately respond to the scene, said Rubio.

When interviewed by the police, the Russian national said he was going after a fish that he targeted with his spear gun and did not see the turtle resting among the corals, Rubio said.

The foreigner violated Section 97 of Republic Act 8550 as amended by Section 102 of Republic Act (RA) 10654.

Section 102 of RA 10654 stipulates that it is unlawful to take, catch, gather, sell, purchase, possess, transport, export, or ship out aquatic species listed in the Convention of the International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna or those categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

An offender can be penalized up to P5 million and imprisonment of 12 years and one day to 20 years.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources sent personnel who documented the dead sea turtle and buried it, said Rubio.

The Russian national is now under detention at the Dauin Police Station. (PNA)