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More turtles found dead off Semporna

Published on: Thursday, April 17, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: Four more sea turtles were found dead barely a month after a massive number of turtle carcasses was discovered on Pulau Tiga in Kudat.

They were found floating off Semporna, between Bum-Bum and Kulapuan islands within the Tun Sakaran Marine Park by a Fisheries Department staff.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah's School of Business and Economics researcher-lecturer Dr James Alin said a reliable source told him the Sabah Wildlife Department had launched an investigation following a report from the Worldwide Fund for Nature-Malaysia in the latest incident.

However, he expressed doubt there would be any outcome, going by the previous discovery of 60 turtle carcasses on Pulau Tiga in Kudat that had yet to produce results. Alin was the one who made public the earlier discovery on March 22.

He said that after the Kudat case was raised in the media, a meeting was held at the State Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry and chaired by its Permanent Secretary. Among those present were representatives from the Maritime agency and Wildlife Department.

It was in that meeting that Alin came to know that the Maritime agency actually already knew of the incident months before.

"The Maritime officer even showed us photos and announced their investigation was not conclusive and that no one was arrested."

Surprisingly, the Sabah Wildlife Officer also chided him for not consulting their department before disclosing the issue to the media.

"They said their department was far away from Kudat and did not have any speedboat to visit the island."

Alin said he earlier offered the enforcement agencies his assistance to catch the culprits, but no one took up his offer.

"I don't know if our wildlife enforcement is serious about going after those behind these senseless killings,' he said.

Nonetheless, he named several suspects in the latest killing, saying it could be seaweed farmers who regard the animal as pests and deep-sea trawlers of local joint venture owners.