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On separate occasions, some 142 hatchlings of marine turtle Olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) were released on February 2, and 7, 2019 in the waters of Boracay in Malay town, Aklan.

“This is a good sign that the Island of Boracay is recovering from environmental decay. We are now witnessing the return of marine turtles or pawikan, particularly the Olive ridley, which is considered a threatened species,” DENR-Region 6 Executive Director Francisco Milla said.

Based on reports, the first 80 hatchlings were discovered by employees of the “Under the Star Luxury Apartment, in front of their establishment in the evening of February 1. Except for one, which manifested symptoms of stress and exhaustion, all 79 hatchlings were released the following morning (Feb. 2) to the waters of Sitio Tambisaan in Brgy. Manoc manoc.

The weakling is now under the care of LGU-Malay’s marine biologist Haron Deo N. Vargas, naming it “paw paw”.

The second release happened on February 7, 2019, at the Bayugan Beach in Brgy. Yapak. The release of 63 hatchlings of Olive ridley was spearheaded by representatives of LGU-Malay and Shangri-La Boracay Resort and Spa.

Olive ridley is one of five species of marine turtles that thrive in various parts of the country. It is declared a threatened species (Vulnerable) as a consequence of coastal development, consumption of their eggs and entanglement in fishing gear.

On April 26 last year, the whole island of Boracay was closed to tourism to give way to its rehabilitation on orders of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Six months later, on October 26, 2018, after series of operations and rehabilitation efforts by the Boracay Inter-agency Task Force led by DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, the island was again opened to the public. ###

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