Not so taken aback over turtle deaths
Published on: Wednesday, November 05, 2014
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Not so taken aback over turtle deaths
SEMPORNA: People have been lukewarm about the killing of sea turtles although it is an endangered species, said Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Pang Yuk Ming. He said the issue of irresponsible parties killing the turtles to be smuggled out of Sabah to a neighbouring country this year did not receive widespread attention from the public, unlike the issue of elephant deaths.

He urged the relevant authorities, particularly tourism industry players and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) to expand awareness about sea turtles in the West Coast, for example, in Banggi, Kudat.

This would give an opportunity to the community in the West Coast, to see and know the turtles and indirectly express a love for and the need to protect endangered species.

"Once we have known the species, we would be sure to love it and automatically there will arise efforts to protect the animals," he said on Mabul Island, Tuesday. Pang was speaking after a turtles welcoming programme at Mabul Island by Borneo Divers.

Also present was the Borneo Divers and Sea Sports Chief Executive Officer Datuk Edmund Looh and Semporna Assistant District Officer Suhaime @ Suhaimi Ejip.

He was proud that Mabul-Sipadan was recognised by the United States as the world's number one dive centre with a succesful environmental governance.

"This recognition is certainly very welcome because it proves that the Government's efforts in the past 12 years had finally paid off not only in the conservation of the ecosystem, but also in gaining international recognition.

"Although at first, the Government's decision to close the resort and limit tourists to 120 people at a time at a time was not well received, the action has proven to conserve the marine ecosystem," he said.

Pang also revealed that Tun Sakaran Marine Park will be opened in Banggi and gazetted in the near future, possibly next year.

Earlier, in his remarks Admund stated that efforts to maintain and protect the sea turtle is a shared responsibility because the animal has been likened to a human family as their existence at Mabul Island and its surrounding areas was from very long ago.

He hoped the "Celebration of Sea Turtles in Mabul" for three days starting from Nov 3 will bring awareness to preserve and conserve the marine life as well as the cleanliness of the sea.



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