Pawikan turtle conservation continues in Pag-asa, Bagac, Bataan

Remember those pawikan or sea turtles that you helped return to the ocean last season? They are at it again!

On 30 August, the first pawikan nest was found by the community volunteers. There are a total of 27 nests now and counting. All of these first eggs were adopted by Audrey and Bubbles.

Bubbles, our favorite cat lady, powered much of the operations of the community hatchery during the off-season. Her support allowed us to nurse these early nests, but more important, rebuild the hatchery that was damaged by coastal floods during the last moonsoon season. We cannot thank you enough for your support!

Our big thanks to local supporters, too, who continue to take care of the needs of the hatchery. Much has improved now in terms of tools and supplies for those who collect the eggs and maintain the hatchery. This also means that Mama turtles are now tagged and their data recorded. All of it remains a community- and volunteer-centered effort.

The first hatchlings for this season were released 25 October – 22 small, fragile, yet driven turtles out of 100 eggs. The small number of hatchlings is attributed to the devastating coastal floods only a few months ago. The eggs got wet and cold. The developing turtles inside died.

We were lucky the coastal floods and the following erosion, which collapsed the dike and displaced many families, spared the rest of the hatchery. We will later find out the fate of the remaining nests.

We expect a higher number of nests this year, not only because the turtles started early, but also because the community is more energized and engaged than ever before, despite of and inspite of dealing with the natural calamities that ravaged the area.

There are more people patrolling the coasts. More nests found by individuals are being surrendered to the hatchery, instead of selling it for food or eating it themselves. There is more awareness of the turtles and a larger part of the community is involved in the cause – our cause, you included!

Your overwhelming support for the turtles last year created a foundation of hope, empowerment, and infinite generosity that the community volunteers treasure.

You were the first to believe in them, the first to say what they are doing mattered.

Almost 8,000 turtle hatchlings returned to the ocean last season because of you. I do not know how we would have made it without your support!

This season, the turtles seem to double-down on their efforts. We will be here supporting them. As long as there are pawikan eggs, we will do all we can to bring them home.

Do you think we can beat our record from last season?

Published by Markus + Micah

We are Markus + Micah. We live in a tiny house by the sea, grow our plants, cook plant-based food, travel, and design wellness retreats and mindful programs so we can all live meaningful lives.

22 thoughts on “Pawikan turtle conservation continues in Pag-asa, Bagac, Bataan

  1. Oh, I remember the baby turtles from last year and can’t wait to support the preservation again! I am sure we will break the record of last year 😊 hope both of you are well and enjoying this month of November!

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    1. Thank you, Juliette. There are close to 100 turtle nests now – isn’t that crazy? Last year, there was none at this time! More people in the community are aware and they see the value of protecting the turtles. The change that has happened in one year is very inspiring. We will share details on how to help soon. Thank you for your support!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks. We are doing all we can to support them. It is a little harder now since we are still in Germany but we look forward to being with them again in December. There is plenty of room to grow and more ways to support the turtles. They totally deserve it.

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    1. Yes, we pay the community for the pawikan eggs. These are taken from the coast and transferred to the hatchery, which is on the same coast but a protected area. The eggs are collected to protect them from sand erosion, flooding, animals, and people. When they hatch, they are released to the ocean. This helps both thr community and the turtles and gives the community incentive to protect the turtles and the ocean.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sweet little turtles. I am smiling now–thank you for the opportunity to help them last year. May the news of their journeys spread near and far.

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  3. Wow, wish I can be there with you and be the “turtle lady” to help the poor defenseless hatch-lings. They can be eaten by predators big and small, on land or from the sky. They do need volunteers to help them if they are in the endangered category.

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    1. The turtles need all the help they can get. The eggs are taken from the coast to the hatchery to increase their chances of being born and they are released into the ocean. There is much coastal erosion happening, plus the eggs are in danger not just from animals digging them up and eating them, but also from some people who sell them for food or eat them themselves.

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    1. Thank you, Michelle. It is not just the turtles that are benefiting from this project, but also the people. You can see growth in them in the way they care for nature and support these turtles. There is definitely more energy and awareness compared to last season. I am truly grateful to the village chief and his group for starting this conservation project in 2020 – it has become so much more than helping turtles hatch, but a way to empower and ground the community, too.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks! What amazes me most is the growth in community involvement. More people care about the turtles – and this means a lot considering how poor the people are. They choose to help the turtles instead of eating the eggs or profiting from them. So much has improved since last season and it is all because of people like you who believed in the project and in the people.

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