IT was a sight to behold as five Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) made their way into sunset along Pantai Kerachut in Penang.
Cheered on by the Lions Club of Tanjung Penang members and their family, a six-year-old Green turtle could be seen wading through the sand with four other young ones as they made their way to the sea.
State Fisheries Department officer Mohd Syahrulnizam Ismail said the older turtle was released into the sea after it had been kept for research purposes all this while.
Mohd Syahrulnizam, who is in charge of the Turtle Conservation Centre, said the young turtles were also let go after reaching the six-month mark.
“The young turtles were with us as means to educate the visitors.
“As for the older turtle, we were researching its eating habits to see whether it could adapt to sea-based food or land-based food.
“We found out that it could eat the usual diet like fish, jellyfish and sea grass in the sea as well as eat cabbage and cucumber on land.
“Now that our research is over, we want to release the turtle. It will be able to adapt to sea life within two days,” he said when met at the centre on Sunday.
Mohd Syahrulnizam said they try not to keep a turtle after six months unless it is meant for research purposes.
The turtle release was one of the activities of the ongoing Tanjung Family Beach Environment Project 2016-2017 organised by Lions Club of Tanjung Penang and Delta Business Solutions as part of their efforts to preserve the environment.
The project is supported by the Malaysian Fisheries Department.
Some 50 club members and their family enjoyed a day filled with fun activities at the centre.
Among the programmes were a fun interactive question-and-answer session with Mohd Syahrulnizam, an Eco treasure hunt where participants looked for fake turtle eggs, and the planting of five sea lettuce shrubs (Scaevola taccada) at the site.
Organising chairman Tony Tan said the event was organised by four charter clubs of the Lions Club of Tanjung Penang.
“We wanted to gather all the members and hold a family outing with a cause.
“This is part of our efforts to create awareness and educate our children as well.
“The turtle population is dwindling and we want to help in some way to curb their extinction,” he said.
Tan said it was part of the Lions Club International core services to protect the environment, relieve hunger of others, engage the youth and sharing the vision (preventing blindness) as part of their centennial celebrations this year.