Turtle hatchlings released in Davao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 29 March) – Seventy-six Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings were released at the Cleanergy Park or the “Pawikan Sanctuary,” a known nesting site here for sea turtles, hours after the eggs hatched on Wednesday.

Davao Light and Power Company officials release 76 Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings at the Cleanergy Park (also known as the “Pawikan Sanctuary”) in Davao City on Wednesday (28 March 2018). (Photo courtesy of Fermin Edillon)

The Cleanergy Park at Purok Punta Dumalag in Barangay Matina Aplaya is maintained by the Aboitiz-led Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC).

In an interview, DLPC community relations manager Fermin Edillon said the eggs were transferred last February 21 to the park from the beach line of Times Beach in Matina Aplaya, a residential area some two kilometers away, to protect the eggs.

It was turned over by officials from Barangay 76-A Bucana.

Edillon said they were surprised that more than 80 percent of the eggs hatched. They initially thought the casualty would be higher as a result of getting them transferred from one nest to another.

“Davao Light is committed for this cause to save the pawikan so that our future generations will be able to see them. It’s an effort of the entire group to preserve the coastal area. This is one small step but we believe this is a big leap to help preserve the environment,” he said.

Edillon said the sea turtles must be protected in keeping the balance of the marine ecosystem. Five out of seven turtle species visit the Philippines to lay eggs, and one of them is the critically endangered Hawksbill turtles, he pointed out.

He said the Aboitiz company keeps the sustainability mindset to balance business, people, and planet in their long-term decision.

The Aboitiz Group, through Davao Light, continues to preserve the Cleanergy Park to ensure it stays as a nesting ground for sea turtles, Edillon said.

He added that they partner with local government units, non-government organizations, and schools in the conservation efforts. They also welcome visitors to educate them about conservation. A total of 3,326 hatchlings were released since 2014.

Located within the 37-hectare Marine Protected Area (MPA), the Cleanergy Park is confined in one place near the urban center, with turtle habitat, mangrove and coastal forest, and rich coral reef.

The park also serves as a model of habitat conservation and biodiversity management in an urban setting, one of the flagship projects under Aboitiz’s group-wide sustainability agenda; and collaborative endeavor made possible by the strong support and hard work of many organizations and individuals.

The Aboitiz Group said it maintains the park in order to educate and promote learning about environmental conservation and biodiversity 
enhancement and save the critically endangered sea turtles from coastal development and human settlement.

The Cleanery Park is five-year development project worth P7 million of the Aboitiz Foundation. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)