LEGAZPI CITY: A female leather-back sea turtle swam the high seas down to Yawa village shore here to bury at least 100 eggs at the Naval Forces Southern Luzon premises on Sunday evening.
Navy Ensign Mon Duruin, public information officer of Naval Forces Southern Luzon told The Manila Times that the leather-back sea turtle about two meters long laid its eggs on the sand and may likely hatch more than 80 eggs.
The turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is primarily found in the open ocean as far as north Alaska and the southern tip of Africa though recent satellite tracking research indicates that leatherbacks feed in areas just offshore.
“A rare type of sea turtle was uncovered by navy personnel together with the local residents right the premises of Philippine Navy headquarters at around 8 p.m. This huge sea turtle laid her eggs on the sand,” Duruin told The Manila Times.
Study showed that a leather back sea turtle could nest at intervals of two to three years though recent research indicates they can nest every year.
Females lay an average of 80 fertilized eggs, the size of billiard balls and 30 smaller, unfertilized eggs in each nest.
The eggs incubate for about 65 days. Unlike other species of sea turtles, leatherback females may change nesting beaches, though they tend to stay in the same region.
The leatherback sea turtle, sometimes called the lute turtle, is the largest of all living turtles and is the fourth largest modern reptile behind three crocodilians. It is believed that female leatherback turtles often return to the same nesting areas where they were born to produce their own offspring.
They can grow to over six feet in length and weigh up to 2,000 pounds.
Leatherbacks are also unique among sea turtles in that instead of a hard carapace, a leather-like, oily “skin” covers their shell bones. Leatherbacks could swim alongside some of the deepest-diving whales—they are capable of diving at least 3,900 feet, the study said.
This rare sea turtle is classified as endangered species because of uncontrolled egg harvest, catching and slaughtering, coastal development and highly variable food availability.
“After nesting, the eggs were buried by navy personnel in the sand and will be monitored to ensure that no one could intrude until such time that these will be hatched,” the navy spokesman said.
After the rare sea turtle laid her eggs on the shore, navy servicemen along with the local residents of Yawa village released the turtle back to her habitat.