Review of Conservation Efforts
This is our Story
The presence of sea turtles (locally called "PAWIKAN") within the municipal waters of Abra de Ilog, and particularly along Brgy. Udalo's coast, is well known throughout the community.
However, other than through local narratives, no evidence except the sad sight of empty nest pits could be found as the only tangible support. In 2014, searching for a solution to countermeasure the destruction of sea turtle nests, the idea of "PAWIKAN PATROL" was born:
to interest and engage the community in the protection of sea turtle nests instead of exploiting them.
Photo credit: Friedhelm Krenz (Night Patrol/July 2016)
To this purpose and in the same year, we invited experts of the Pawikan Conservation Project (PCP/BMB-DENR, Manila) to conduct a target-specific workshop. Since then, the number of community members who participated in PAWIKAN PATROL activities one way or the other, has increased to well over two hundred.
Photos above and below:
Diumanod beach, Brgy. Udalo
- future Marine Turtle Sanctuary -
Photo credit: Felix Cybulla (Ivakale/Feb. 2020)
From 2016 to 2019, Pawikan Patrol members continuously collected basic information through the monitoring of nests and night patrols. This data was instrumental in further expanding the project to include the protection of sea turtles' nesting habitat in our area.
For the first time, we were able to document
- which sea turtle species frequent our coast line
- which locations are the main nesting areas and
- when is the main nesting season
In co-operation with the Mayor's office and with much support from the academic circle, friends and local community, we achieved two further milestones:
2018 - the re-alignment of the coastal road project further inland thus saving the prominent sea turtle nesting habitat at Diumand beach from certain destruction
2020 - the official acknowledgement by the regional DENR offices including the recommendation to declare Diumanod beach as a "Marine Turtle Sanctuary" through Municipal Ordinance.
A special day for Pawikan Patrollers: Udalo's Barangay Kapitana Ms. Ofelia Silan and Barangay Officials were present to witness the emergence of 80 Olive Ridley sea turtles - including the 5,000th pawikan baby released from the Munting Buhangin hatchery site.