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Economic value of marine turtles, parrots seen at $70-M/year

A RESOURCE valuation system has reckoned the economic worth of Philippine marine turtles and blue-naped parrots at up to $69.8 million a year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.

Some marine turtles and the blue-naped parrot are included in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of threatened species.

The paper, known as “Philippines: Protecting and Investing in Natural Capital in Asia and the Pacific,” said economic use value considers the traded price generated in the sale of the animals based on government regulations, ecological services and contribution to tourism activity.

“Marine turtles generate a total use value ranging from around $57.9 million to almost $63.9 million per year, while the blue-naped parrots’ total use value is around $724,510… to $5.9 million per year,” according to a copy of the report obtained by BusinessWorld.

A marine turtle is estimated to have an economic use value of up to $95,948 throughout its 57-year lifespan, while a blue-naped parrot is projected to have an economic use value of a maximum of $3,719 in its 6-year lifetime.

“By calculating the economic value of the lost benefits should the species or even taxonomic group become extinct, members of society and policy makers can be informed of what the social, environmental, and economic costs of trade are, which is challenging but essential, especially for illegal and unregulated trade where information is scant,” according to the study.

The report is not yet available online, but its findings were cited in a statement issued by the DENR on Monday.

“We hope that in popularizing the findings, we can entice more Filipinos to think about the long-term benefits of our wildlife such as marine turtles and blue-naped parrots, and not just short-time gains,” DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu was quoted as saying.

Theresa M. Tenazas, the DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau-Wildlife Resources Division OIC chief, said that the economic valuation study will “support efforts to amend the 20-year Wildlife Act.”

According to the DENR’s updated list of threatened animals as of 2019, hawksbill and leatherback turtles are classified as critically endangered, while loggerhead, green and olive ridley turtles are endangered. Meanwhile, the blue-naped parrot is considered critically endangered.

The DENR said the study was conducted under the auspices of DENR-ADB/Global Environment Facility Project on Combating Environmental Organized Crime in the Philippines.

The study is a technical assistance consultant’s report prepared by Environmental Economist Agustin L. Arcenas. — Angelica Y. Yang

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