The undisturbed beaches of barangay Baylao and Kuguita in Mambajao town are now the new found haven of the hawksbill sea turtles, distinguished for its sharp, curving beak and saw-like appearance in the shell margins.
While this turtle lives part of its life in the open ocean, it spends more time in shallow lagoons and corals, a vulnerability that pushes the local government, to affect a strong conservation program on the critical habitat.
Last Feb. 15, the local executives have released the first batch of new hatchlings to the sea in the shoreline of Baylao, witnessed by the residents, school teachers, barangay officials, police officers, and fish wardens.
Some 63 turtles were released; part of the event was also a tree planting activity near the shore.
To date, the local government is drumming up its campaign to educate the locals and become active partners in preserving the specie, often traded by fisherfolks for decorative purposes.
Meanwhile, another awesome option for those who wanted to see and swim with the turtles is the protected marine sanctuary in Mantigue Island (part of Mahinog town), where turtles playfully swim with the people around. (JCV/PIA)