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Baby Pawikans hatch along Padre Burgos

April 22 - 28, 2017

PADRE BURGOS – Monitoring almost a hundred baby sea turtles this summer season is quite a chore for the whole Ebuenga family after their small nipa hut near the beach of Barangay Sta. Sofia, Padre Burgos was chosen as a nest by a mother sea turtle last April 13, Thursday morning.

The Sea Turtle, better known as “Pawikan” in the Philippines, is an endangered specie, which is fast becoming extinct around the world. The giant turtles usually spend their entire lives at sea, except when adult females migrate to shore to lay their eggs.

According to Trisha Mae Ebuenga, who informed SLT immediately about the news, said that it was the second time that the sandy underside of their family’s coastal home has been chosen by a mother “pawikan” as a nesting site. They encountered the same situation three years ago.

Trisha said that the discovery of the newly-hatched specie was a mere accident
when her uncle Dionesio Salomon almost tripped on a deep-hole.

Salomon who happens to be a fish broker, offered to help and took custody of the sea turtle hatchlings to ensure they have enough food and ideal habitat.

“We fed the baby pawikans with crushed fish meat,” Trisha said to SLT. Ebuenga disclosed that she and her family had already coordinated with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Padre Burgos police station for assistance.

“In fact, we are just waiting for the approval of the DA to release them back to the ocean,” she added.

Based on the life cycle of sea turtles, it takes decades for them to reach sexual maturity. The mature pregnant female hauls herself onto the beach and finds suitable sand in which to create a nest.

Using her hind flippers, she digs a circular hole 16 to 20 inches deep. After the hole is dug, the female then starts filling the nest with her clutch of soft-shelled eggs.

After laying, she re-fills the nest with sand, re-sculpting and smoothing the surface, and then camouflaging the nest with vegetation until it is relatively undetectable visually.

According to Trisha, some residents from other towns come to their hut to admire the cute, ‘eager-to-swim’ baby sea turtles, but they make sure, that the observation and fascination by the visitors are best served from a distance.






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