KUALA TERENGGANU: The carcass of an adult male green turtle (penyu agar) was found floating in waters off Pulau Kapas near Marang at 11am on Saturday (Jan 22).
Terengganu Fisheries Department director Ruzaidi Mamat said it was the tenth turtle death recorded since Jan 3.
"The turtle, which is 80cm long and 69cm wide, is believed to have died as a result of drowning after it was trapped in a net and its carcass was buried in Pulau Kapas," he said when contacted by Bernama today.
The first turtle death reported in Terengganu this year was on Jan 3 at Pantai Penunjuk Kijal near Kemaman, followed by two adult female green turtles at separate locations at Chendering port, Kuala Terengganu and Seberang Takir in Kuala Nerus on Jan 12.
The fourth and fifth deaths were reported on Jan 13, also in two separate locations, namely a baby green turtle in Pulau Kerengga, Marang and an adult male green turtle in Paka.
The sixth and seventh deaths were recorded at Pantai Batu Buruk in Kuala Terengganu and Seberang Takir in Kuala Nerus involving two adult male green turtles on Jan 14, while the eighth death occurred on Jan 18 in Kijal and the ninth death was reported on Jan 20 in Pantai Kemasik.
He advised the public to call the Fishcom 24 hours hotline at 03-88885019 or 03-88704058 immediately if they find a live or dead turtle stranded on the beach.
Meanwhile, turtle conservation activist and founder of Marang Turtle Conservation Rani Awang, 56, said a detailed investigation should be done by the Fisheries Department to identify the cause of the animal's death which occurred frequently in a short period.
"Many turtles conservation programmes have been undertaken over the years, including by non-governmental organisations to ensure the sustainability of marine treasures and it has proven successful with the release of baby turtles that are increasing over time.
"However, it is quite unfortunate because the death rate at sea has also increased and we want this to be investigated seriously to prevent it from recurring," he said. - Bernama