Sea turtles are one of the old surviving species. Imagine – sea turtles started swimming our oceans some 200millions years ago, and although greatly reduced in number – still roaming our oceans today, outlasting the great dinosaurs. (Dinosaurs became extinct some 65million years ago). They're among the few animals that ‘re-entered’ the oceans and evolved to live an almost-permanent life in the sea.
Leatherbacks, green and hawksbill turtles are all critically endangered species. Bataan’s pride – the Olive Ridley is endangered, and we’re hoping that the conservation effort in Morong will allow this species to last another million years, hopefully living thru the new impending Climate Change disaster, and even outlasting Sapiens (hehe)…
Although protected by law, Pawikans are illegally killed for its meat and carapace (‘shell’), and its egg poached as aphrodisiac. (Sigh). Turtle eggs are not even nutritious, high in cholesterol, with no aphrodisiac value whatsoever, and sometimes even contain small amounts of heavy metals like cadmium or mercury. Duh!
Sea turtles meat is also semi-toxic, given that turtles normally thrive on highly toxic sea creatures like jellyfish, anemone and sea sponges.
Conservation centers normally just take care of the nesting place (beach area), the eggs (secure them), and the hatchlings (make sure they crawl to sea). But the real conservation lies in all of us. By not buying turtles products, we kill the demand and hopefully stop the poaching. And by educating our youngsters and friends – we can help save this gentle, lovable creatures of the sea.
Some more Fast Facts:
- Less than 5% of hatchlings the crawls to sea will live to adulthood. Some say only 1%. Like sharks, their sexual maturity takes times (20plus years for sea turtles) hence the slow reproduction process.
- Baby sea turtles (hatchlings) know that they MUST go to sea to survive, les they’ll be eaten by bayawaks, dogs, birds and even humans. And even w/ a good number reaching the sea, most will not survive. When they reach adulthood, their primary predators will be humans. Experts say they can live up to 50-60years. Nemo’s father met an individual with an age of more than 100 years :) hehe.
- Sea turtles remember their place of birth (as in - ala GPS reading), and if a female survive to adulthood, in 20-25 years, they will nest in exactly the same birth place. Even if they travel to Atlantic or Pacific or Indian ocean!
- Best places in Philippines to see sea turtles: APO REEF, TURTLE ISLANDS (duh!), TUBATTAHA (diving only), maybe even BATAAN.