CLARK, PHILIPPINES — Wyndham Destinations has relaunched its “Save the Turtles” project with the Pawikan Conservation Center (PCC) in Morong, Bataan.
Through the company’s sustainability program WYNDGreen, the employees raised funds by selling activity t-shirts donating all proceeds to PCC and volunteered to clean Nagbalayong beach where turtles usually lay their eggs. Wyndham has also donated disinfecting alcohol, trash bags, and bins, which are much-needed by the center.
The PCC started as a community-based program in Barangay Nagbalayong devoted to rescuing, protecting, and propagating marine turtles. Its volunteers patrol the beach’s six-kilometer stretch to place the eggs in the center’s “Hatchery” and protect them from poachers or animals that prey on them.
“We are pleased to relaunch this project that we started before the pandemic, as we know that it will greatly support not just the PCC but also the ecosystem in the area. The turtles have major roles in maintaining the health of our seas and oceans,” said Gloria Llamas, Director of Operations of Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific.
The COVID-19 pandemic has badly hit the PCC with lockdowns and border restrictions prohibiting visitors. The volunteer-led organization also struggled to secure donor funding for its operations due to the pandemic.
“We have released over 200,000 turtles to the ocean since we began our operations. With the help of private donors like Wyndham Destinations, we will be able to continue our mission of protecting and propagating marine turtles in Bataan,” said Manolo Ibias, Chairperson of PCC.
Llamas also shared that her team members collected three sacks of garbage in just 30 minutes of cleaning during the company’s beach cleanup. The team picked up plastic straws and bags, cigarette butts, old fishing nets, and facemasks.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, 52% of the world’s turtles have eaten plastic waste. Plastic bags look similar to jellyfish for turtles, while fishing nets look like tasty seaweeds. Also, hundreds of marine turtles die every year after getting entangled in discarded fishing nets and nylon fishing lines.
The PCC has also been a sanctuary for injured sea turtles rescued by the fisherfolks and volunteers of the organization. The turtles are being treated and rehabilitated until they are healthy and strong enough to return to their habitat.
Officially opened in October 2019, Wyndham Destinations in Clark supports Wyndham’s global offices and club resorts across Asia and the Pacific, USA and Europe.
Wyndham Destinations has rolled out sustainability initiatives across its offices and resorts such as eliminating the use of plastic straws and utensils, use of bamboo key cards and LED lighting, waste segregation and recycling programs.