Two female sea turtles, a Green and Hawksbill, were tagged and released last February 28 and March 1, 2017 respectively at the Cleanergy Park, Sitio Punta Dumalag, Matina Aplaya, Davao City. The tagging and releasing of the said turtles was initiated by the Aboitiz Companies in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-XI) and the University of the Philippines Mindanao.
The Green sea turtle, measuring around 68 curve carapace length (CCL) and 68 curve carapace width (CCW), was turned over by the Brgy. Bucana Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committee to the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park last February 24, 2017.
While the Hawksbill sea turtle weighing roughly 65 kilograms and measuring around 93 CCL and 86 CCW, was found 15 meters away from a nest and trapped in the mangrove area on February 25, 2017. It sustained a wound on her right side that required medical attention.
Said sea turtles were tagged in order to gather more information about their migration patterns, their nesting habitat and to be able to estimate the number of turtles living in the area.
Present during the release were: Davao City Councilor Diosdado Angelo A. Mahipus; Veterinarian Dr. Ken Anthony Lao; Brgy. Matina Aplaya Kagawad Jimmy Poliquit; and representatives from DENR-XI, Aboitiz Companies (Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc., Aboitiz Power, Davao Light, and Apo Aqua), and UP Mindanao.
Since January 10, 2017 the Cleanergy Park already found four nest in their area at Sitio Punta Dumalag which is an identified nesting habitat mostly of Hawksbill sea turtle.
Green sea turtle is one of the largest sea turtles and the only herbivore among the different species. They are named for the greenish color of their cartilage and fat, not their shells. It is mostly found in tropical and subtropical waters like in the Philippines. It was assessed as Endangered under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species for they are susceptible to population declines because of their vulnerability to anthropogenic impacts during all life stages from eggs to adults.
On the other hand, Hawksbill sea turtle is named for its narrow, pointed beak. They have a distinctive pattern of overlapping scales on their shells that form a serrated-look on the edge. They are found mainly throughout the world's tropical oceans, predominantly in coral reefs. It was assessed as Critically Endangered under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Hawksbills are threatened by the loss of nesting and feeding habitats, excessive egg collection, fishery-related mortality, pollution, coastal development, and wildlife trade.
The sea turtles play an important role in the ocean's ecosystem. They maintain the health of the coral reefs for they remove prey such as sponges found in the reef's surface, and some turtles graze on seagrasses and algae, which maintains the seagrass beds making them more productive.
The DENR together with private sectors and other Civil Society Organizations continue its goal in raising awareness and support on the conservation and protection of the sea turtles in the Philippines.