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Turtle hatchery in Labuan soon
Published on: Sunday, September 18, 2011
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Labuan: Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd (Sabah) has committed RM53,000 for turtle conservation which would see the setting up of a turtle hatchery at Pulau Kuraman, one of three islands gazetted as a marine park.Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said while conservation programmes were important to help increase the turtle population, equally important were efforts to remove the many man-made challenges turtles faced for survival.

"The introduction of turtle excluder device on fishing nets is certainly good and provides turtles caught in the net a getaway opportunity.

But there is still more to be done like stopping consumption of turtle eggs and not to use cyanide for fishing," said Kurup.

He said indiscriminate dumping of plastic was another threat.

He said turtles take about 20 to 30 years to mature and faced many risks.

These reptiles have a unique ability to return to the beach where they were hatched even they had to travel thousands of miles.

According to the World Conversation Union (WCU), turtles are among the most threatened reptiles and faced extinction. There are seven species and two Green turtle and Hawksbill turtle have been recorded to land at Pulau Rusukan Besar to lay eggs.

Till August, this year, 881 green turtles and hawksbill turtles were collected from the nests and transferred to Kurman and 344 were successfully hatched.

But there still remains the question of the survival of the hatched turtles as usually a mere one percent reach maturity due to various challenges these turtles faced.

Despite the disturbing figures it is hoped that continued conservation programmes and education of the public on the importance of the eco-system, the turtle population would gradually increase and one day become an important eco-tourism product of Labuan with divers able to swim along with turtles.

Kurup said Turtle Conservation was not only to help increase turtle population but also serve as a centre for education and research and increase public awareness and provide a positive impact on the island's image.

President of Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd Datuk Abdullah Karim who represented the company to officiate at the event said though the company was involved in the oil business, it paid serious attention on preservation of marine life.

Among others present were Member of Parliament, Datuk Haji Yussof Mahal and senior Petronas Officials, Mohamad Medan Abdullah, Joseph Podtung, Saifuddin Shah Sowkkatali.


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