Positive turtle conservation efforts

Shafik (in red shirt) fitting a micro chip to two turtles before they is released at the Turtle Hachery Centre, Cherating, Kuantan. — NIK NAIZI HUSIN/ The Star

CHERATING: The Cherating Turtle Conservation Centre has successfully hatched 4,746 turtles from January to June this year.

Pahang Fisheries Department director Datuk Adnan Hussain said that this was from the 15,428 eggs laid by 176 turtles that nested at the conservation centre during the same period.

"It takes 60 days for the eggs to hatch, that is why there is a difference between the number of eggs hatched and those that were laid,” said Adnan.

“The number of turtles nesting here has fluctuated over the last few years, and this may be because of the weather and the sea temperature.

”But we expect an increase of at least another 250 nests before the end of the year.”

Last year, the centre recorded 592 turtles nesting, a 126% increase from 2015 where there were only 262 turtles.

In 2016 as well, 53,112 eggs laid compared to 24,204 throughout 2015.

Adnan was visiting the centre with State Rural Development, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Committee chairman Datuk Shafik Fauzan Sharif for the 2017 Turtle Restoration and Awareness Programme.

During the event, two female adult Green Turtles were tagged with a microchip on their shoulder before being released into the sea.

He said the turtles can swim across continents and have been found in the US, Indonesia, Australia and Japan, to name a few.

“With the microchip, we hope that whoever in whichever country that finds the turtles can send us the information and also share it with others around the world,” he said.

The programme also allowed participants to experience releasing 300 baby turtles back into the sea.

Adnan added that the programme was in cooperation with Bumi Armada Bhd for the past three years ago and besides public education and awareness, the programme also included activities to upgrade the turtle hatcheries and research activities on turtles.

The Cherating Turtle Conservation Centre has been in operation since 1996, managing and maintaining 3.5km of turtle beach landing area.

Since it was founded, the centre has managed to incubate 418,906 Green Turtle eggs and hatched 268,037 baby Green Turtles and released them to sea.

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