The Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (SBPS Protected Area Management Office (PAMO) has officially announced the start of the sea turtle (pawikan) nesting season in Sarangani Bay, which usually peaks from March to May every year.
"SBPS has four (4) known marine turtle species - Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas), Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta) and the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). The seascape's shorelines are favored nesting ground for these turtles," said Protected Area Superintendent (PASU) Joy C. Ologuin in an interview.
“Let us not disturb marine turtles when they come ashore and are about to lay eggs at night. Do not shine a flashlight, make loud noises, or take photos with the camera flash turned on. Instead, we should just leave them alone and allow them to lay their eggs safely," PAMO In-house Veterinarian Dr. Roy Mejorada advised.
Once the eggs are laid, they incubate in the sand for roughly two (2) months before the turtle hatchlings emerge from their nest. As the hatchlings race towards the sea, they imprint or "remember" their birthplace, committing it to memory so that one day, when the hatchlings mature, they shall return to the same beach where they were born to lay their own eggs.
“We urge our partners, communities, and local industries to keep our beaches clean and free from any structures/hindrances that may hamper the nesting of our pawikan. It is our joint responsibility to ensure that the beaches of Sarangani Bay remain safe and open for sea turtles to lay their eggs." PENRO Sarangani Maria Elvira V. Lumayag emphasized.
You too can play a part in protecting the seascape's marine turtles! If you spot a pawikan coming ashore, you should keep your distance and report the incident to your local Bantay Dagat, MENRO/CENRO, or nearest DENR Office.
You can also report the incident to SBPS Hotline Numbers 0909-618-9917 (Smart) or 0995-305-0306 (Globe).