Tighter rules needed to protect turtles and their eggs, says Sabah Parks

KOTA KINABALU: There is a need for strict and more proactive measures to prevent the illegal sale and consumption of turtle eggs, says Sabah Parks director Maklarin Lakim.

He said this is in view of the increasing turtle landings recorded on islands, especially at Manukan Island close to the city here.

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“For one, these increased landings and nestings are good for conservation because this means the population could increase,” he said when contacted on Tuesday (Nov 1).

“However, there must be more proactive measures to prevent the illegal sale or possession of these protected species, their eggs or any parts of the animal,” he added.

According to Maklarin, lax enforcement was one reason why such illegal activity was still ongoing.

ALSO READ: It's illegal to eat turtle eggs in Sabah, visitors reminded after videos surface

Sabah Parks recently recorded several hawksbill turtle landings on Manukan Island which saw hundreds of eggs laid over the past two months.

Some of the landings recorded were on: Oct 13, with 125 eggs laid, Oct 27 (79 eggs), Oct 8 (84 eggs), Sept 24 (110 eggs), Sept 27 (112 eggs) and Sept 14 (128 eggs).

Sabah Parks also arranged for the release of 83 hawksbill turtle hatchlings from Manukan Island on Sept 29.

ALSO READ: Marine conservationist faced many obstacles in his efforts to save Sabah's turtles

Turtle landings were extremely rare on Manukan island, but the situation changed during the Covid-19 pandemic due to the lack of human activities, Maklarin said.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said officials were constantly on the alert for sales or possession of any protected species in Sabah.

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