Malaysia: Call to adopt Libaran shoreline to encourage turtle landings

The Star 5 Dec 16;

KOTA KINABALU: Turtle conservationists on Libaran Island off Sabah’s east coast are hoping for companies or individuals to adopt its shoreline in an effort to keep the beaches clean and encourage nest landings.

Friends of Sea Turtles Education and Research (Foster) president Alexander Yee said the 3km long coastline had been divided into 60 lots measuring 50m each that could be adopted for RM100 monthly or RM1,200 annually.

These funds, said Yee, would then be given to the villagers who would actually carry out the cleaning.

“A dirty shoreline means unhygienic living environment for the villagers and prevents the turtles from coming to shore to lay their eggs,” he said.

Yee said there were some 450 people living on the island, whose main livelihood was fishing.

The move to clean up the island’s beach started in 2015 after rubbish, ranging from plastic bags to diapers and even the occasional television set, washed ashore.

He said that following public dialogues, the villagers had started to maintain their compound and fenced up their livestock, mainly cattle.

A clean beach would increase the frequency of nest landings, he said, adding that this year, several environmentally conscious companies as well as the Tourism and Culture Ministry had chipped in with the funds.

Those interested can e-mail fosterseaturtle@gmail.com for further details of the programme.

Yee said the community beach cleaning was part of Foster’s action plan for next year, adding that it was also expected to work out more collaboration with the Sabah Wildlife Department in conserving and protecting sea turtles.

Between 2012 and June this year, the hatchery has collected 20,262 green turtle eggs and 10,598 hawksbill turtle eggs.

Of these, 23,808 hatchlings have been successfully released into the sea.

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