Terengganu plans to buy turtle eggs to boost population

A leatherback turtle. The species has not landed in Terengganu for a long time. — Filepic

DUNGUN: The Terengganu Fisheries Department has proposed to buy leatherback sea turtle eggs from overseas for incubation and release into its waters to increase the population of this species in the state.

Department director Zawawi Ali said the turtle eggs could be obtained from Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

“However, the proposal will be reviewed in a special seminar that will gather scientists and turtle-related experts in October.

“If they agree to the proposal, we will seek cooperation from the state government to implement it,” he said after officiating the release of 1,684 hatchlings at The Qamar Resort, Paka near here.

About 3,000 residents from around Paka were also present to witness the release of the hatchlings.

The Terengganu Fisheries Department recorded the landing of the leatherback turtle in Terengganu in 2017 after its last landing seven years earlier.

Zawawi said Terengganu beaches were once popular landing spots for four of the seven species of turtles in the world, namely the Leatherback, Olive Ridley, Hawksbill and Green sea turtles.

“We are worried because the Leatherback and Olive Ridley turtles have not come ashore to lay their eggs for quite some time now.”

He said there was no Olive Ridley turtle landing on Terengganu beaches since 2003.

“The Leatherback also has not landed in Terengganu for a long time. The last landing was in 2010. However, at the end of 2017, we found 92 Leatherback turtle eggs at Pantai Rhu Cikgu area near Rantau Abang in Dungun but the eggs never hatched.

He said the number of Hawksbill and Green sea turtles landing in Terengganu showed a decline too compared to 10 years ago. — Bernama

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