DAVAO CITY April 19 (PIA)- This year has seen a record number of Hawksbill Turtles being hatched in Cleanergy Park since it was opened in 2014.

This year they have found four nesting sites with about 571 eggs. About 541 hatchlings have been released (including yesterday’s release) this year.

About 2,300 turtle hatchlings has been released in the park since 2014 this includes the 186 hatchlings released yesterday (April 18).

Fermin Edillon, community relations manager of the Aboitiz-owned Davao Light and Power Company says they are securing the nesting sites of these turtles.

The April 18 release was the third release of the turtle hatchlings for this year.

The first release held last March 21, was graced by City Mayor Sara Duterte, another hatchling release is slated by next month.

Edillon said that usually the nesting season happens second quarter of the year, but nesting occurred in January and February.

“The reason why turtles would nest here because there is no disturbance. Turtles prefer a nesting site that is peaceful. “ says Edillon.

During nesting season the white-sand beach is off limits to visitors.

According to Edillon  the Hawksbill Turtle is the only sea turtle specie coming to the Cleanergy Park to nest. He says that the Hawksbill can navigate through the rough rocky terrain of the Punta Dumalag Beach.

Formerly the Pawikan Sanctuary, the four-hectare park (along with a 37-hectare Marine Protected Area) located in Davao City’s Punta Dumalag is a model habitat conservation and biodiversity management program of the Aboitiz Group of Companies.

Despite developments like a playground, nursery, a knowledge center, weather station and a mangrove boardwalk, the park was largely left undisturbed. A white-sand beach, mangrove forests and a large swath of beach forest occupy much of the park.

Though open to the public, entrance to the park must be made by appointment and is strictly regulated, it has been visited by students, researchers, and conservationists.

Davao City is very lucky since there is a nesting site within the urban area. Edillon said citing the importance of the Cleanergy Park.

He said that only 1 to 3% of the hatchlings survive into adulthood, thus the need to protect these nesting sites, an initiative essential for the conservation of the sea turtle. (PIA/RG Alama)