DAVAO CITY – The local environmental conservation group Amihan sa Dahican-Save our Seas (SOS) has released 105,000 baby turtles into the sea of Dahican in Mati City for the last three years.
Mati City Information Office (CIO) head Ben Tesiorna said that the city recorded the highest number of released turtles among other cities in the Philippines, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The DENR said Mati City is abundant of marine wildlife that every year, marine turtles or “pawikan” lay eggs on the shore of Dahican. It added that three species of turtles nest on Dahican beach – the Green turtle, the Hawksbill, and the Olive Ridley.
Winston Plaza, one of the founders of the group, said that there are currently 5,000 eggs of Olive Ridley in the hatchery and it will take 50 to 60 days for them to hatch.
Plaza added that a turtle will take an hour to lay eggs because they will dig a hole, lay eggs on it, and cover it again with sand to protect them from predators. “Kung asa sila gipanganak, didto sad sila mubalik para mangitlog. Sensitive sad ning mga pawikan nga kabalo sila kung asa ang limpyo ug safe nga lugar para mangitlog (Turtles usually return to the place they were born to lay eggs. They are also sensitive enough to choose the right place where they can lay and hatch eggs),” Plaza said.
The group also conducts coastal cleanup twice a week to maintain the cleanliness of the beach and save the sea creatures from harm.
Amihan sa Dahican-SOS is committed to help conserving marine wildlife species. They patrol every night on the beach to record turtles laying eggs and relocate hundreds of eggs to the hatchery to protect them from predators.
The group was recognized during the 6th Gawad Bayani ng Kalikasan and was featured in the multinational television channels like the National Geographic and Animal Planet. Aside from marine conservation activities, they offer shelter to kids and help them in their education and share surfing and skimboarding skills with tourists since the team are all extraordinary surfers.