SAN VICENTE, Palawan — Some 101 olive ridley turtle hatchlings were released by Turublien Beach Resort in this town Monday.
The eggs were laid on the beach in February by an adult female and they hatched on April 5.
Turtle advocate Dixie Marinas said the conservation of the olive ridley is very important in the ocean ecosystems because they maintain the health of seagrass beds and corals.
Marinas said it was her kids who inspired her to continue her advocacy on saving the turtles.
“My kids inspired me to do this. I have been coming to San Vicente since I was 9-years-old and grew up seeing and enjoying the pawikan. When I accidentally encountered a nest of baby turtle hatchlings 3 years ago for the first time on Long Beach, my first thought was ‘I wish my kids where here to experience this’,” she said.
“That was my eureka moment. Something must be done to protect these guys. So they can be here for my kids, my future grandkids and for everyone. The children need to understand at an early age that they need to respect and love these guys too. I also feel that this is a way to set them up to be even better people,” Marinas added
The turtle conservation project started here almost two years ago. It has been implemented for two consecutive turtle seasons, she said.
This project will run as long as it is needed. It has been implemented for two (2) consecutive turtle seasons now with Club Agutaya through then-mayor Pie Alvarez.
“We started this conservation project in 2018 with Club Agutaya and the support of Barangay San Isidro led by barangay chairman Remedios Pablico and the barangay council members who crafted the first-ever ordinance in the Philippines protecting the pawikan, which also led to the creation of the Municipal Ordinance authored by municipal councilors Romulo Molo and Beth Uapal. We had full support from the municipal government during mayor Pie Alvarez’ time. We were trained and were supported by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and also the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR),” Marinas said.
La Zuli Resort also collaborated with them since last year. She said three more establishments have joined since then — Siztom, Victoria Resort, and Turtle Beach Resort in Brgy. Alimanguan.
Marinas said there are volunteers in Turublien, and from the past seasons, 18 nests have been secured. This season, 69 nests are being secured.
“I’m so happy that the love, respect, and awareness about these amazing animals have grown so much. San Vicente is full of pawikan, but sadly they are dwindling and sadly being abused by locals and tourists. This needs to change,” Marinas said.