New hatchery set to boost turtle conservation efforts on Libaran island


Yee measuring a sea turtle which just landed to lay her eggs.

KOTA KINABALU: Turtle conservation in Sandakan’s Libaran island is expected to get a boost from the setting up of a new hatchery recently.

The new AquaGoat Sea Turtle Hatchery, which started operating on Sept 30, immediately received a visit from two turtles which laid their eggs there.

Friends Of Sea Turtles Education and Research (Foster) president Alexander Yee said the new hatchery can accommodate up to 100 nests, with the average nest usually containing 60 to 75 eggs.

“Needless to say, we were ecstatic to have two sea turtle landings right after we completed the construction of this new hatchery barely a few hours earlier,” he said on Sunday (Oct 3).

“We are excited to have this new hatchery here as our work with locals in protecting and conserving these protected species requires all the help we can get,” he said.

Yee added that the construction of the hatchery was made possible with funding from United States-based company AquaGoat Finance.

Yee (seated left) with the volunteers of the new hatchery.Yee (seated left) with the volunteers of the new hatchery.

He said the funds were secured in June, and the company would also pay for the community beach (500m stretch) cleanup work on Libaran island for a year.

AquaGoat Finance charity and outreach coordinator Jhunehl Fortaleza deemed the new hatchery one of the few partnerships she held close to her heart.

She said the completion of the hatchery was a happy event for the company.

As a yield-generating social cryptocurrency company, she added, its aim is to use a portion of income per transaction to fund ocean cleanup and marine conservation initiatives.

Through Foster's existing hatchery, more than 35,000 sea turtles have been released back to the sea since its programme started over nine years ago.

Yee said this year alone, as of Sept 30, they have released a total of 1,306 green turtles and 390 hawksbill turtles back to the sea.

Yee releasing newly hatched turtles back to the sea.Yee releasing newly hatched turtles back to the sea.

The latest batch on Libaran Island consisted of 65 newly-hatched turtles.

“With the new hatchery, we will continue to collaborate with the village community and ensure that more sea turtle landings on the island are taken care of,” he said.

Foster has been operating a sea turtle protection programme on the island for the last nine years through an arrangement with the Sabah Wildlife Department.

Those interested to help may get more details by writing to fosterseaturtle@gmail.com.

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