KOTA KINABALU: Two rescued green turtles have been nursed back to health and released into the sea near the diving haven of Pulau Mabul in Sabah’s east coast.
The turtles, weakened by illness, were found in May and since then have been nursed back to health by the Sabah Wildlife Department’s Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) personnel, WRU acting manager Dr Diana Ramirez said.
They were kept at the Mabul Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and also cared by staff of diving operator Scuba Junkie SEAS for nearly two months before their release on Saturday, she said.
Before their release, both turtles were given a final medical check and WRU personnel placed satellite tracking tags on them.
The tagging was a collaboration between the Wildlife Department and NGO Marine Research Foundation (MRF).
MRF director Dr Nicholas Pilcher said the tracking of the rehabilitated turtles would enable researchers to see how well they re-adapt in the natural environment.
“It will also let us know the areas the turtles inhabit, allowing us to concentrate conservation efforts in those areas,” Dr Pilcher added.
Scuba Junkie SEAS conservation manager David McCann said it was the responsibility of dive operators to promote marine conservation and protect endangered species such as turtles.
“This is why we have a turtle hatchery and rehabilitation centre. It allows us to contribute to turtle conservation in this area in a practical manner,” he said.
Dr Ramirez said partnerships between the unit and the private sector such as Scuba Junkie and NGOs such as MRF augured well for conservation efforts.