KOTA KINABALU: Just in case anyone needs reminding, it is illegal to consume or possess turtle eggs and any part of protected sea turtles in Sabah, says the state Wildlife Department.
Its director Augustine Tuuga said although this has been widely publicised, there are still accounts of people consuming turtle eggs, including visitors from Peninsular Malaysia.
"Sometimes, these visitors are hosted to luncheons and dinners and are served turtle eggs, which is illegal," he said on Monday (Nov 8).
"So again, I want to remind everyone that eating turtle eggs is prohibited in Sabah," he said in response to allegations that a group of visitors from the peninsula, said to be relatives of a celebrity, had eaten turtle eggs here.
Several videos said to be from the Instagram account of a woman, believed to be the celebrity's aunt, had surfaced recently.
In the videos, she shows several dishes on a table including turtle eggs, and says: "Every time I come to Sabah, I must have turtle eggs. Delicious."
The posts have since been taken down and it is unclear if she was in Sabah when the videos were recorded.
Tuuga said he had no information on the matter, and no one had lodged a complaint over it.
"Nevertheless, it is important to know that it is illegal to eat turtle eggs and for visitors to be mindful of this," he said.
He also said decades ago, there used to be a gazetted area where locals were allowed to search for turtle eggs for their own consumption but this was no longer allowed.
"We did away with the native turtle egg collection area in response to international calls to stop the collection and consumption of turtle eggs," Tuuga said.