Editorial | Saving the turtles

ONE EARLY morning in August, 15 years ago, officers of the Davao Light and Power Company with a very enthusiastic councilor, the late Leo Avila and journalists slowly tread the shores at what is now called Aboitiz Cleanergy Park, to watch hawksbill turtles hatch from four clutches in Punta Dumalag, Matina Aplaya.

The sea turtle nests became a rallying point for conservation of the marine animals that are threatened by encroachment of human activities in the densely populated peninsula. It was the beginning of the ocean’s conservation awareness as the city government, schools, private institutions and the media began talking about the state of the coastal communities in the city as a result of the nests found in the area.

The enthusiasm to save the sea turtles continues to this day, drawing coastal communities to become the guardians of endangered marine turtles.

Last Monday, olive ridley sea turtle hatchlings were released at the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park, another milestone in the conservation efforts of the community. The olive ridley is named for its color and is currently the most abundant of all sea turtles, according to the World Wildlife Fund. But they are vulnerable because they nest in very few places and any sign of disturbance affects their population.

The hatchlings are assisted by volunteers up to the shoreline and into the shallow waters as it is vulnerable to predators, Only very few survive and return to hatch as they are either caught for meat or as bycatch or snagged in nets. The natural threats faced by young sea turtles are overwhelming but it is the human activities that render them endangered or closing extinction.
Saving the seas and all sea creatures is tantamount to saving our lives.

Posted in Opinion