KOTA KINABALU: Turtle conservation efforts in Sandakan’s Libaran island received an unexpected boost when two turtles laid eggs at a newly opened hatchery.
The AquaGoat Sea Turtle Hatchery started operating on Thursday when the two turtles appeared and laid eggs.
Friends Of Sea Turtles Education and Research (Foster) president Alexander Yee said the new hatchery can accommodate up to 100 nests, with each usually having an average of 60 to 75 eggs.
“Needless to say, we were ecstatic to have two sea turtle landings barely a few hours after the hatchery opened.
“We are excited to have this new hatchery as working together with the locals in protecting and conserving these protected species requires all the help we can get,” he said.
Yee added that the construction of the new hatchery was made possible with funds from a US-based company, AquaGoat Finance.
The funds, secured in June, will also be used for the island’s community beach clean-up effort for a year.Yee said through Foster’s existing hatchery, more than 35,000 turtle hatchlings had been released back to the ocean since the programme started over nine years ago.
“Just this year alone, as at Sept 30, we released a total of 1,306 green turtles and 390 Hawksbill turtles back to the sea, the latest on Libaran Island with 65 newly hatched turtles.
“With this 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.
AquaGoat Finance charity and outreach coordinator Jhunehl Fortaleza said that as a yield-generating social crypto currency company, their aim is to use a portion of their income per transaction to fund ocean cleaning and marine conservation initiatives.
She said the company is happy with the opening of the hatchery.
The turtle protection programme on the island is made through a memorandum of understanding with the Sabah Wildlife Department on Aug 27, 2018.