Vice President Sara Duterte led the release of 152 hatchlings of the critically endangered hawksbill turtle to their natural habitat along the coastline of the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park in Punta Dumalag, Matina Aplaya here Tuesday afternoon. Duterte, joined by officials of the Davao Light and Power Co., Inc. and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), said the activity helped instill the values of responsible environmental stewardship among the young people. 'It is important that the children will understand the life cycle of the turtles and how hard it is for them to live,' she said. The Hawksbill turtle is one of five species that can be found in the tropical oceans of the Philippines. Duterte also raised concerns over the problem of plastics in the ocean being ingested by adult turtles and other marine life. Low survival rate Data released by Davao Light said at least 7,650 hatchlings were already released from the park since 2014 but only a few of the creatures survived into adulthood. The Aboitiz Cleanergy Park is a nesting ground for the critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles. Pawikan conservation efforts are essential to ensure that these endangered creatures continue to thrive in the sea. Meanwhile, Fermin Edillon, head of the Reputation Department of Davao Light, said only about one in 1,000 hatchlings survive into adulthood. 'Hatchlings die of dehydration if they don't make it to the ocean fast enough,' he said, adding that the hatchlings came from eggs laid by a hawksbill turtle that was trapped and rescued on the same coastline in 2017. The turtle returned to lay eggs in 2021 and this year, he said, noting that the park management secured the area to ensure that the eggs were safe after the mother turtle left. Launched in 2014, the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park is an eight-hectare ecological preserve and biodiversity conservation site managed by AboitizPower subsidiary Davao Light and the Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. It is also home to the Green Sea turtle and Olive Ridley turtle and is a haven for endemic migratory birds and other marine species.
Source: Philippines News Agency