We called the Reputation Enhancement of Davao Light. They are the department responsible for giving power outage advisories. To entertain the call of one home schooling mom like me, will already give you an idea how accommodating they are. I was told that I can go to their office in Damosa (beside Swiss Deli) to get a gate pass which I did the week prior.
The Community Relations Manager and his secretary were gracious enough to have entertained my questions when I went to get the gate pass and to instruct the care taker of the park to show us around during our actual visit.
We were not expecting any eggs or releasing of hatchlings but when we learned that they just released 100 plus hatchlings on September 25, a holiday, made us feel sorry we didn’t come earlier. It wasn’t a total bummer though. It could have just added to the already ecstatic feeling we had when we did go and visit.
Mang Rochie had been waiting for us and saved some fish to be fed to a turtle that was recently turned over to them by the DENR. The green turtle (specie) supposedly feeds on sea cucumbers and sea grass. However, this one was quite strange because it was eating fish! They suspected it has been kept as a pet, the reason it became carnivorous. He is not going to be released in the sea. Either way he is going to die because it doesn’t know how to hunt. So they are keeping him for educational purposes. We were amazed to see him (or her) gobble up the fish!
Next stop was the boardwalk. It’s a path that will allow you to see the beautiful beach. Adjacent to it is the mini mangrove forest. The area seemed untouched except for the deliberate mangrove planting they are doing in the area because these plants are not very good at propagating themselves. This was intentional so they can continue to encourage the turtles to come back. A property owned by Davao Light but ironically has no power for nature conservation’s sake.
As you exit the mangrove area, you will be led to the information center. The small building houses a male turtle, information about them, Punta Dumalag and the AWS or the Automated Weather Station. I had information overload reading through all the facts about turtles and Punta Dumalag’s beginning and evolution. I have to admit I was saddened thinking about the turtles who are coming to shore. I mean, the area is so much different (and dangerous for them now) than it was twenty five to thirty years ago when they first imprinted the place in their GPS. I sure hope they wouldn’t be poached nor harmed. 🙁
We went up the top of the building and were treated to a breathtaking view of the ocean and a little later the nostalgic sunset. It was truly God’s creation at its finest! It was indeed a sight to behold. My appreciation for God’s creation increased as I stood in awe at what I had just learned and experienced. It fueled my desire to take care of the environment and help conserve it not just for my children but for their children to experience what we have just witnessed. I felt gratitude for organizations such as Aboitiz for the environmentally sound initiative to conserve the area.
It was so worth the trip!
Here are some interesting facts we learned about turtles:
- Turtle eggs are buried 60 days in the sand before they emerge as hatchlings This batch only took 48 days
- The one found at the cleanergy park is the Hawksbill specie which is now critically endangered
- The estimated lifespan for a sea turtle is 60- 80 years
- The gender of baby turtles are determined by the temperature of the sand with girls hot and the boys cool. 🙂
- Male turtles only go to shore if they are ill while females only do if they are laying eggs.
- It takes about twenty five to thirty years for a turtle to become an adult and start having a family.
- They are the world’s oldest GPS. Hatchlings orient themselves to the earth’s magnetic field and lock the location into their internal GPS. So the turtles that are coming to the cleanergy park to nest their eggs were the very hatchlings that came from the same spot some 25 to 30 years ago.
- The mortality rate of turtles is very high with only 1 surviving out of a thousand.
- The way the eggs have been positoned when they’re laid should be the exact way it should be placed when transferred
- A mother turtle makes false nests to deter predators from finding her eggs. One needs to be well aware of their behavior to be able to find it.
- A mother turtle lays over a hundred eggs at a time and comes back to lay more two weeks later.
- When water reaches the nest, the eggs would not hatch.
P.S. The AWS was awesome. I will have to write about it in another article.