SAN VICENTE, Palawan — A total of 67 Olive ridley turtle hatchlings were released along the shores of Long Beach in Barangay San Isidro, San Vicente last Friday, April 9.
The release was lead by conservation advocate Dixie Marinas, who explained that the best time to release turtle hatchlings into the wild is either during sunrise or sunset.
“It is best to release them before sunrise (5am) or just before sunset to ensure that they have a higher chance of survival as they are less visible to predators,” Marinas explained.
“And they must be released within 24 hours of hatching based on correct conservation practices. When turtles hatch, they have a food pouch with food (that will last) for three days so they can have a chance to thrive in the ocean,” she added.
Marinas has been advocating and campaigning for turtle conservation in the town for three years where she said she can feel support of the local government from barangay to the municipality and even in the community.
“Our small community project has paved the way for the Philippines’ first Barangay Ordinance in Brgy. San Isidro for the protection of marine turtles, that gave birth to the San Vicente Municipal Turtle ordinance authored by Sangguniang Bayan members Romulo Molo and Lilibeth Uapal three years ago. It has helped mold the young within our community to care about wildlife and to prioritize turtle conservation as their advocacy. Today, children as young as 12 years old are championing turtle conservation in our area by making an active stand by patrolling the whole 14.7-kilometer long beach,” she narrated.
She further stated that she believes in the importance of the campaign to maintain the sustainability and preservation of wild life in the area.
“Ito ay napakahalaga dahil dito nakasalalay ang pagiging sustainable at pananatili ang kagandahan and ating bayan para sa mga susunod na henerasyon. Kung ang lahat ng bata ay matututo sa maagang edad na mahalin at respetuhin ang wildlife, naniniwala akong sila ay lalaking ideal citizens and masisiguro ang magandang communidad sa San Vicente,” she stated.
She also sees as inspiration her children and the people in the community who shows concern to the environment and the wildlife in her campaign.
“Ang mga anak ko ang main inspiration ko. Gusto kong na masiguro na ma-enjoy nila ang mga turtles na ito. Marami rin akong nakilalang mga amazing na tao dahil sa turtle conservation. Isa na rito ang aking dating entor na si Mavic Matillano ng WWF (World Wildlife Fund) noong sya ay nabubuhay pa. Sana magkaroon pa ng mas maraming support sa mga grupong nagmamalasakit sa wildlife. At sa mga gustong tumulong, madaming paraan para makatulong. So huwag mahiyang tumulong,” she said.
Marinas further said that while she was trained as a conservationist by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), WWF, and Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) three years ago, she is also willing to undergo more trainings to enhance her skills.
“We were trained by the DENR and WWF 3 years ago and are partnered with PCSD. We will be undergoing retraining for best turtle conservation practices,” she added.