LEGAZPI CITY: The visit of a rare giant female leatherback sea turtle to lay her eggs in Rawis village here on July 14 has made the world sit up and set its eyes on Albay Gulf, marine biologist Angie Viloria of the DENR pawikan conservation project central office told The Manila Times.
“The world is watching us closely for this event. This is the first recorded event that the rare and endangered leatherback sea turtle laid her eggs in the country through the coastline of Albay Gulf. This means that Albay Gulf is uncontaminated with deeper seabed,” Viloria said.
Albay Gulf, the largest gulf in the southern part of Luzon island, is romping ground for the gentle giant whale shark locally known here as butanding, dolphins and other marine species frequently sighted here.
The latest discovery and visit of a rare giant female leatherback sea turtle whose head is bigger than a human’s head, aroused interest of marine biologists and scientists.
Viloria said the rare leatherback sea turtle laying its eggs here is historical because this species is commonly seen in Atlantic Ocean.
Viloria flew in this city on Friday along with other representatives from pawikan conservation office. They transferred the 105 eggs from original nesting place.
Viloria’s team with DENR regional office officials led by Gilbert Gonzales and Commodore Natalio Abinuman chief of Naval Forces Southern Luzon transferred the eggs in an elevated area right at the Nav-forsol Camp to ensure safety as world environmentalists and scientists are watching closely the rare event.
Viloria’s team unearthed 90 eggs the size of billiard balls and 15 smaller ones similar to quail eggs.
The team also uncovered twin eggs of the rare turtle.
“Sea turtle eggs hatch in about 45 to 70 days but because of hot temperature, the incubation period may be shortened to 40 to 60 days. Once a crater appears or emerges in a volcano type of sand pile we have put up- that means the eggs are already hatched,” Viloria said.
She explained that the giant female marine species usually returns to the place where their mother laid eggs 25 to 50 years ago.
“They might be possess an instinct that leads them to laying their eggs on the same place where they were born,” Viloria added.
The laying of eggs by the leatherback turtle was discovered by Ruben Bolanos, 19, and his brother Sonny, 29, villagers of Purok 6, Barangay Rawis, a coastal village of this city fronting the Albay Gulf.
As the rare leatherback turtle left, Viloria advised residents and local officials to be on guard as the giant will return again a few days later to lay more eggs.
Commodore Abinuman who ordered his men to secure the area to protect the birthing place of a rare marine species expressed happiness saying that the navy camp is very lucky as the phenomenal occurrence occurred here.