Malaysia: Turtles making a comeback in Terengganu, says varsity

The Star 6 Mar 17;

DUNGUN: Beaches in Terengganu, including Rantau Abang here, used to see up to 10,000 leatherback turtle landings in the 1950s.

Rantau Abang was a lively place back then, crowded with visitors, but this declined when fewer than 50 turtle landings were sighted during the early 1990s.

This prompted Universiti Malay­sia Terengganu to set up a Turtle Research Unit (Seatru) in 1993, with a station at Chagar Hutang on Pulau Redang.

Seatru chief researcher Assoc Prof Dr Juanita Joseph said Pulau Redang recorded less than 500 nests, with about 100 turtles landing, when the project started.

“We bought green and hawksbill turtles’ eggs from licensed turtle egg collectors at RM120 per nest,” she said. The eggs were for incubation.

In 2005, the state government declared the Chagar Hutang, Mak Simpan and Mak Kepit beaches on Pulau Redang as turtle sanctuaries.

Collecting turtle eggs for sale was abolished, allowing all the eggs collected on the island to be incubated.

“Nesting data showed turtle landings on Pulau Redang had increased in 2010, 17 years after the research started,” said Dr Juanita.

“More exhilarating was that 1,000 turtle nests were recorded at Chagar Hutang for the first time, and this became 1,500 nests last year,” she said. — Bernama


Turtles Get A Lifeline In Terengganu
Kamaliza Kamaruddin Bernama 5 Mar 17;

DUNGUN, March 5 (Bernama) -- Resort beaches in Terengganu including Rantau Abang here used to record up to 10,000 leatherback turtle landings in the 1950s.

At that time Rantau Abang was very lively and crowded with thousands of visitors but this declined when often less than 50 turtle landings were sighted in the early 1990s.

This prompted Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) to set up its Turtle Research Unit (SEATRU) in 1993 with a station at Chagar Hutang, Pulau Redang.

SEATRU chief researcher, associate professor Dr Juanita Joseph said Pulau Redang recorded less than 500 nests with about 100 turtles landing when the project started.

"We bought green and hawksbill turtles' eggs from licensed turtle egg collectors at RM120 per nest (to incubate them)," she said.

In 2005, the state government declared Chagar Hutang, Mak Simpan and Mak Kepit beaches on Pulau Redang as turtle sanctuaries.

Collecting turtle eggs for sale was abolished allowing all turtle eggs collected on the island to be incubated.

"Nesting data showed turtle landings on Pulau Redang had increased in 2010, namely, 17 years after the research started," she said when met by Bernama.

"Most exhilaratingly, 1,000 turtle nests were recorded at Chagar Hutang for the first time, and 1,500 nests last year," she said.

In the more than two decades the research was conducted, UMT had protected more than 13,000 turtle nests and successfully released a million turtle hatchlings, she added.

-- BERNAMA

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