PADRE BURGOS, Southern Leyte — The local government here is stepping up conservation efforts for sea turtles after discovering that their area is one of the nesting sites of this endangered reptile.

Town Vice Mayor Ma. Fe Crispina Poblete said they have launched an information drive in coastal communities to raise public awareness on marine protection after a female turtle nested in the sands of Santa Sofia village here on April 13.

Last week, the local government in coordination with the Department of Agriculture released the baby turtles to the wild after three weeks.

Poblete said it was the second time that turtles hatched their eggs in Santa Sofia shoreline. “This is a proof that female marine turtle find suitable sand in which to create a nest.”

Santa Sofia village is a host to a 15-hectare fish sanctuary.

“The people here should be informed of what to do once they discover sea turtle nest near their homes,” Poblete told reporters on Wednesday.

The Enbuega family immediately coordinated with local authorities on how to protect the nest and take care of the baby turtles. It was the second time that the sandy underside of their family’s coastal home has been chosen by a marine turtle as a nesting site.

Based on the life cycle of sea turtles, it takes decades for them to reach sexual maturity. The mature pregnant female hauls herself onto the beach and finds suitable sand in which to create a nest.

Female turtles lay their eggs usually in summer months, in nesting burrows and cover them up with sand, dirt or mud, and then leave them to incubate. Incubation times vary, but average around two months before hatching occurs.

Accordingly, after laying her eggs the mother turtles work is done, so young turtles must survive on their own. (Vicky C. Arnaiz/PNA)