The Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape is one of the major nesting sites of the endangered green and olive ridley marine turtles in the Philippines. These turtles lay their eggs in various nesting sites along the bay, which are now threatened by unrestrained buildup of residential structures and tourism establishments, and other non-sustainable land uses that prevent marine turtles from laying their eggs in the area.
To address the issue, various local government units in Sarangani province, in cooperation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), have established hatcheries within their jurisdictions and have launched campaigns to raise awareness of marine turtle conservation. This has resulted in fewer reports of poaching of marine turtles and their eggs as residents would dig up marine turtle eggs along the shore and turn them over to hatcheries to protect the eggs from predators.
Mishandling of turtle eggs, however, often destroys its viability to become hatchlings. In response, the USAID’s Protect Wildlife project held a workshop in the second week of October 2019 to provide technical guidance in assessing the condition of marine turtle hatcheries in the bay, in assessing current local capabilities in managing these hatcheries, in rectifying improper practices and retooling, and in localizing protocols based on national standards. Around 45 municipal officers and staff members from Sarangani attended the workshop. (PWP/ Meg Yandoc)