WWF Malaysia Calls For Turtle Conservation-based Ecotourism Programmes

Kamaliza Kamaruddin Bernama 23 Jun 13;

KUALA TERENGGANU, June 23 (Bernama) -- Terengganu, one of the locations for turtle landing, should embark on a pro-active measure to protect the exotic animal from becoming extinct.

Out of seven turtle species in the world, four of them, namely the leatherback, hawksbill, olive ridley and green turtles, land in Malaysia, making the Terengganu beaches their main location to lay eggs, besides some locations in Pahang, Melaka, Sabah and Sarawak.

However, due to various threats, the number of turtle landings in Malaysia has dropped.

Malaysia World Wildlife Fund (WWF) executive director/chief executive officer, Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma, said Terengganu, having made the turtle its tourism icon, should introduce more eco-tourism programmes based on the concept of turtle conservation.

These programmes would not only generate income for local residents, but also help protect turtles and enhance public awareness on the importance of protecting the country's treasures from becoming extinct, he added.

He told this to Bernama after the World's Turtle Day celebration at Batu Buruk here. The event was organised with the cooperation of the 2013 Terengganu Visit Malaysia Year Secretariat and the Tourism Ministry.

According to him, there has been a drop of 99 per cent landing of the leatherback turtles, and 60 per cent for the olive ridley and green turtles, over the past 20 years.

"Some 60 years ago, there were 10,000 leatherback turtles' nests recorded every year in Rantau Abang, Dungun, but since the past two years, no leatherback turtle landing has been recorded," he added.

As such, he hoped more turtle conservation-based programmes be carried out in Terengganu.

He also suggest a formulation of a law to ban the sale of turtle eggs.


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