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  • Writer's pictureBy Gerry Urbina

Aboitiz Cleanergy Park: Saving Sea Turtles

In a heartwarming celebration of Earth Day, the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park in Davao City welcomed a new addition to its family of rescued sea turtles. A weak and floating hawksbill sea turtle, indigenously known as a pawikan, was discovered trapped in a fisherman's net near Sitio Tambangan.

Photo Insert: Rescued and on the Path to Recovery: A weak and dehydrated female hawksbill sea turtle finds solace at Aboitiz Cleanergy Park after being turned over by compassionate government officials from Lasang, Davao City on April 14, 2023. Dedicated veterinary care and meticulous observation at the facility will nurture her back to health, ensuring a future release into the wild.

Thanks to the quick thinking and compassion of local fisherfolk led by Kagawad Ronel P. Simo, this precious creature was saved from imminent danger and entrusted to the care of the park.

The rescue of this female hawksbill sea turtle underscores the urgent need to invest in the future of our planet. With this year's Earth Day theme, "Investing in our future," echoing across the globe, the rescue serves as a poignant reminder of the critical role that individuals and organizations play in addressing climate change and other environmental challenges to safeguard the well-being of future generations.

Davao Light and Power Co., Inc. (Davao Light) and its social development arm, Aboitiz Foundation Inc., have been unwavering in their commitment to sea turtle conservation efforts. The Aboitiz Cleanergy Park, serving as a pawikan rescue center, stands as a testament to their dedication to environmental stewardship.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) highlights the pivotal role that sea turtles, particularly hawksbill sea turtles, play in maintaining the health of seagrass beds and coral reefs.

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These critically endangered creatures thrive in coral reef ecosystems, where they perform an invaluable service—consuming overgrown sponges that stifle the growth of delicate corals. By doing so, hawksbill sea turtles contribute to the overall health and vitality of coral reefs, ensuring their longevity for generations to come.

Additionally, they aid in controlling the population of jellyfish, maintaining a balanced marine ecosystem.

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Presently, the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park is caring for seven rescued pawikans, representing three species: an olive ridley, a green sea turtle, and the critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles.

In close coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources XI, these majestic creatures receive essential veterinary care and observation at the facility until they regain their strength and can be released back into their natural habitat.

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The park not only acts as a rehabilitation center but also serves as a vital nesting ground for hawksbill sea turtles.

Since 2015, the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park has successfully released over 7,000 hatchlings into the wild, contributing significantly to the preservation of these magnificent creatures.

The conservation efforts undertaken by the Aboitiz Group align seamlessly with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14, which aims to protect and conserve life below water.

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The park's initiatives, including coastal clean-up campaigns and tree planting activities, demonstrate the organization's steadfast dedication to creating a sustainable future for our oceans and the diverse marine life that calls them home.

The heartwarming story of the rescued hawksbill sea turtle serves as a poignant reminder of the collective responsibility we hold in safeguarding our planet's natural wonders.

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As we reflect on Earth Day's call to invest in our future, the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park stands as a shining example of how individuals and organizations can work together to protect our environment, ensuring the survival of endangered species like the hawksbill sea turtle and fostering a healthier and more sustainable planet for generations to come.

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