The Pawikan Project is a grassroots sea turtle conservation project founded in the Province of Zambales, one of the Philippines' primary pawikan (filipino term for sea turtles) nesting areas. Zambales is now home to five species namely the Hawksbill Turtle, the Green Turtle, the Olive Ridley Turtle, the Loggerhead Turtle, and the Leatherback Turtle. So important are these nesting grounds in Zambales, that the entire coastline was made into a sea turtle conservation zone. Unfortunately, despite the conservation declaration, pawikans continue to be classified as either a vulnerable or endangered species. The declining pawikan population can be attributed to a range of threats, including pollution, habitat destruction, and most commonly found in Zambales—the aggressive poaching of eggs. Moreover, the lack of resources to educate communities and enforce conservation projects likewise ties in with the risk of extinction of these pawikans. With all that has been said, the pawikans need our help.
As a response to the harmful poaching of eggs and sustain critical nesting sites, we have created the Pawikan Project. The project has been designed to align local communities with project goals such as to achieve highest hatching rate, attain education of the community + widen awareness of the pawikans' status. With that, we created a 24/7 Pawikan Hotline, to act as a channel for reporters and to reward community members who report pawikan nests and leave them undisturbed. By doing this, we are breaking the cycle of poaching, and at the same time, promoting the strict non-disturbance of the nests. If a nest has been reported and our trained team identifies the nesting as being recent (within 12 hours), the eggs are moved to a secure hatchery site where they shall be safeguarded until hatching. If the nesting reported exceeds 12 hours, the team will leave the nest in place with a protective barrier placed around it.
Through the Pawikan Project, we hope to achieve the highest possible hatching rate by using top global practices, such as proper handling from laying until emergence, tagging, assessment, & rescue, for sea turtle conservation. With the help of Living Planet Aquarium, a leading American conservation organization, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, we have developed strict protocols for how the pawikan nests are managed.Our project also focuses on engaging both local communities and tourists, raising awareness on sea turtle conservation—and most importantly, spreading the message of environmental stewardship 🐢
About the Fundraiser
We need your support; and every bit of help can already impact the protection and preservation of this threatened species. Please consider adopting a nest, supporting a ranger, or purchasing a package of merchandise made in collaboration with local artists. For this project, we partnered up with 5 local artists who share the same advocacy in order to create limited-edition products in support of the Pawikan Project. We aim to bring together environment and art, in hopes of raising both awareness and funds for marine life conservation as well as the local art scene. 100% of profits will be used to fund the project, in its current and future endeavors 🐢
Learn more about the fundraiser here.
With your help, Pawikan Project can continue to save and protect the sea turtles! 🐢👋🏻