DENR rescues leatherback turtle eggs in Albay

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          The DENR excavated a leatherback turtle nest and rescued 105 eggs because the nest is likely to be inundated by high tide. If the eggs are reached by tidal water they will rot. The DENR marine turtle experts are optimistic there will be lower mortality having made such transfer. A safer ground was identified some 50 meters from the nest with almost identical condition with the area and the original nest.

           “Baka sakaling may mapisa kahit almost 4-day old na yong eggs, inilipat namin sa mas mataas na lugar na hindi aabutan ng high tide sa loob ng 2 buwan. Bago kami nagdecide na i-transfer yong eggs (we are taking chances despite moving 4-day old eggs to an area higher in elevation and is not likely reached by high tide), we consulted Dr. Nick Pilcher and Dr. Chan Eng Heng on the procedure on the transfer of 4-day old eggs. Both have conducted researches on leatherback turtles. Dr. Pilcher advised to use egg tray. Dr. Chan said no shaking, No vibration and No over-turning of eggs. They both said the vertical axis should be maintained. Its the same procedure used by DENR-PAWB-Pawikan Conservation Project in transferring newly laid eggs of green, hawksbill and olive ridley turtles. Actually it was our first time to transfer  4-day old eggs. We are used to the standard procedure of transferring eggs immediately after laying and we finish the process in less than an hour with a maximum period of 2 hours”. These were Angie Viloria’s explanation on the rescue.

          There were other observations noted among them: majority of the eggs were found to be in unstable shape which indicates that it was previously touched; there were about 105 eggs, 90 of which are normal while 15 were abnormal with variable sizes (small lanzones and grapes, the others are light and empty). The size of the leatherback egg is slightly smaller than a tennis ball.

        The Philippine Navy continues to guard the area while DENR Regional Office’s Protected Areas, Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Service records daily temperature of sand and ambient air temperature. This is considered the first documented leatherback turtle nesting in the Philippines, the Pawikan Conservation Project confirms.

Press Release: July 24, 2013