Sea Turtle Conservation in the Philippines
Loveland Living Planet Aquarium is launching a GoFundMe Campaign with a goal of $20,000 to fund one year of operations for The Pawikan Project, which helps protect sea turtle hatchlings in the Philippines. The Philippines has one of the most biodiverse marine environments in the world. Five of the world’s seven marine turtle species are found in the Philippines, known locally as the “Pawikan,” a term that refers to all local species including Green, Hawksbill, Olive Ridley, Loggerhead, and Leatherback turtles.
Every $2 helps protect a baby hatchling Sea Turtle, $200 protects an entire turtle nest, and $250 compensates a turtle ranger for a whole month. Funds raised will go toward the Pawikan Rangers, hatchery materials and labor, equipment, transportation, and veterinary care. Every dollar helps, and the Pawikan need your support!
TURTLES IN TROUBLE
Our Sea Turtle Conservation effort, known as the Pawikan Project, focuses on conservation on and near the shore where poaching of turtles and eggs is the main threat. Many times eggs are taken illegally to be served as a delicacy. While the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, also known as the Philippine Wildlife Act, is in place, challenges remain. Environmental laws are not enforced and public beaches remain open during nesting season.
We are engaging a team of rangers to patrol the beaches each night during nesting season, which runs October – February. Rangers will patrol a six kilometer range from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to relocate Pawikan eggs to a central hatchery. This allows the eggs to hatch without the threat of poaching. Once the turtles hatch after about 45 days, they will be released into the ocean within six hours of hatching.
The Project will implement global best practices to:
- Support sea turtle breeding habitats designed to safeguard the eggs and protect from poaching
- Employ best practices for the protection of sea turtle eggs
- Engage local community members to become Pawikan Rangers to relocate eggs to protected hatcheries
- Broadly promote education and awareness and support the development of eco-tourism and conservation visibility.
- Encourage other participants in the local area and around the Philippines to adopt the best practice model for sea turtle conservation
The Project is based in the Zambales province. We are working with two other groups in this area to further sea turtle conservation. One is Pawicare, which in 2019, was able to protect 9,570 sea turtle eggs of which 90 percent successfully hatched and were released. Their primary turtle species rescued is Olive Ridley. Our primary species in The Pawikan Project area is the critically endangered Hawksbill.