Turtle eggs at reunion dinner: Conservationist offers RM10k reward for info leading to arrest, conviction

KOTA KINABALU: A turtle conservationist is offering RM10,000 to anyone who can help provide information on people involved in serving endangered turtle eggs at a reunion dinner linked to a family member of a former assemblyman.

The conservationist, Alexander Yee, said he was making the offer in support of the Sabah Wildlife Department's efforts to catch and convict people involved in allegedly serving turtle eggs at the dinner.

Yee, who is Friends Of Sea Turtles Education and Research (Foster) president, said,"Conservation efforts and enforcement activities must go in tandem, otherwise conservation efforts will be in vain.

"Towards this end, in my continual effort to render support to the Sabah Wildlife Department, I will make a personal pledge of a RM10,000 reward in exchange for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this incident, ” Yee added.

Yee was pleased that the state government had ordered a full investigation into the claims that family members of a former assemblyman had served turtle eggs at a Chinese New Year reunion dinner recently.

He was responding to Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin's statement on Thursday (Feb 18) that the wildlife department was investigating the case without fear or favour.

Jafry had said that investigators said that without hard evidence of the physical turtle eggs, it would be difficult to get a conviction based on pictures posted on social media. But, he assured that a full investigation would be done.

Yee said that Foster and Sabah Wildlife had been working together under a five-year Memorandum of Understanding for sea turtle conservation works at Libaran Island in Sandakan since July 2018.

Yee, who funded close to RM1mil for the conservation efforts so far, said that they have successfully released more than 40,000 baby sea turtles.

Yee hoped that the reward will help motivate the public to assist the wildlife department in its investigations into the case.

The Facebook post of the reunion dinner has been taken down but screenshots of the purported turtle eggs laid out for the dinner had triggered various conservation groups to urge the state government to act firmly against the those involved.

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