‘Consumption of turtle eggs, sea turtles are off limits in Sabah’

KOTA KINABALU: Turtle eggs, or any part of protected sea turtles, are illegal for consumption and possession in the state, said the Sabah Wildlife Department.

Its director Augustine Tuuga said although the matter has been mentioned many times, there are still instances of people consuming turtle eggs, including supposed “VIP” visitors from Peninsular Malaysia.

“Sometimes, these visitors are hosted to luncheons and dinners, and are served turtle eggs, which are illegal,” he said when contacted.

“So, here again, I want to remind everyone that eating turtle eggs are prohibited in Sabah,” he said following allegations that a group of visitors from the peninsula had turtle eggs here.

The group was said to comprise relatives of celebrity Noor Neelofa Mohd Noor.

Several videos said to be from the Instagram account of a woman believed to be Neefola’s aunt, surfaced recently.

In it, the person could be seen showing several dishes on a table, including turtle eggs, and was heard saying, “Everytime I come to Sabah, I must have turtle eggs. Delicious.’’

The post has since been taken down, and it is unclear whether she was in Sabah recently or elsewhere when the videos were recorded.

To this, Tuuga said he has no information on this matter, and added that no one had come forward to lodge a complaint on it.

“Nevertheless, it is important for us in Sabah to know that it is illegal to eat turtle eggs, and for visitors to be mindful of this as well,” he said.

He said that decades ago, there used to be a gazetted area where locals, especially coastal villagers, were allowed to search for turtle eggs for their own consumption.

However, it is no longer the case anymore.

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