According to District Officer Edmond Teoh, in the past, the conservation of the marine turtles in the district was never given a priority even though Kuala Penyu was named after the turtles that used to land in the beaches here.
"Those days turtle landings were quite common but due to irresponsible individuals who harvested the eggs and sometimes not even sparing the female turtles, the number of turtle landings had dropped considerably in the last few years," said Teoh.
"That's why all of us in the District Action Committee unanimously decided to start a Turtle Hatchery Programme in hopes that the turtle population here can increase in the future, thus the number of turtle landings as well.
We have entrusted the Sabah Wildlife Department to assist and manage the activities within this programme," he said.
Director of the Sabah Wildlife Department, Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu, when contacted said: "This is a really wonderful and noble effort which is being initiated by the District Office of Kuala Penyu. The Sabah Wildlife Department is fully onboard in supporting Kuala Penyu's Turtle Conservation and Hatchery Programme. Hopefully, through its activities, it will be able to bring back the 'penyus' to Kuala Penyu.
"In fact, there has already been some early success in this programme," he said."Guachin Jusoh from the Department of Fisheries here had found a turtle-nesting site and transferred 102 eggs to a designated Turtle Hatchery Center on April 23.
"Ninety-two baby Hawksbill turtles were successfully hatched and released along the beaches of Kampung Menumpang on June 18.
"Another 105 turtle eggs had been transferred to the hatchery on June 1 and we hope another batch of baby turtles will be released soon as well," said Ambu.
"With the general enthusiasm shown by the Kuala Penyu community, I sincerely hope that the turtles in Kuala Penyu will make a comeback.
"Although it will take some time to have an impact in increasing the turtle population and landings, it is on the right track," he said.