54 Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings freed back to sea in Sarangani

After almost two months of hatching at a protected nesting site, environment officials have freed 54 hatchlings of Olive Ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) along the shores of Alabel town, Sarangani province. Joy Ologuin, superintendent of the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (SBPS), said Tuesday the shores of Barangays Maribulan and Ladol in Alabel are known as nesting areas of marine turtles, an indication of a healthy ecosystem that provides a safe nesting ground for these endangered species. Monday’s release coincided with the celebration of this year’s Month of the Planet which carries the theme ‘Invest in our Planet.’ Participating in the release activity were officials of the Sarangani Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, the Protected Area Management Office of SBPS, Alabel municipal environment officers, and community volunteers, among others. Sending the sea turtles, locally known as ‘pawikan,’ to their natural habitat is regularly done as part of efforts to preserve the ecosystem in Sarangani Bay, according to Oloquin. “Our records suggest that the peak turtle nesting season in SBPS is around March to May,’ she added. Sarangani Bay is home to at least four species of marine turtles that include the Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas), Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta), and the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). The catching and hunting of marine turtles, like all wildlife species, are prohibited under Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.

Source: Philippines News Agency