Malaysia: Sabah Wildlife investigating viral photo of dead turtles, says likely act of human

KRISTY INUS New Straits Times 28 Sep 17;

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Wildlife Department has sent their team to Pulau Bum-Bum off Semporna to verify report of dead turtles found on the beach there.

A viral picture of several turtles, some on their backs and their stomachs exposed, went viral on social media yesterday.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said that based on the photo, they looked like green turtles and humans could be the reason behind their deaths.

“According to the villagers contacted, there were nine carcasses.

“Our team has gone down to the island this morning, so we are likely to update after (receiving) their report.

“We have asked our officers to interview those who discovered the carcasses to find leads, including where they drifted from and the possible cause of death,” he said when contacted.

Asked if the condition of the turtles was due to other animals feeding on them, he said, “It is unlikely animals but humans based on what we can see. We will look further into this.”

Sabah has recorded several cases of mass dead turtles washing up onto its shores, including two incidents in early 2014 where 60 carcasses were found in the Pulau Tiga waters off Kudat, while another four at Pulau Bum-Bum.

In March 2015, authorities again discovered 19 green turtle carcasses in Pulau Tiga waters that were believed to be the result of a failed attempt to smuggle the animals alive.

Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) are protected under Schedule 1 of Sabah’s Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.



Hundreds of bone fragments from dead turtles found on Pulau Bum Bum
AVILA GERALDINE New Straits Times 28 Sep 17;

KOTA KINABALU: Hundreds of bones from dead sea turtle carcasses were found scattered in some bushes on Pulau Bum Bum off Semporna here today.

The discovery was made by a team from the State Wildlife department investigating a report about dead sea turtles being spotted on a beach on the island.

State Wildlife director Augustine Tuuga said the bones were found near Kampung Pantau-Pantau, Kampung Amboh-Amboh and Kampung Sampolan on the island.

Augustine said initial investigations reveal the turtles may have been poached by the Bajau Laut or Pala’u community, sea gypsies who roam the seas, as they have been seen in the areas previously.

"They do not live in the area but always on the move by boat. We have identified some suspects and investigation is continuing," he said.

"Further investigation into coastal villages around the island revealed that the poaching activities has been going on for quite some time,” he said adding the team found over a hundred bone fragments of dead turtles at the three beaches.

On the report about the dead sea turtles that went viral on social media, Augustine said the team found one dead turtle in the vicinity.

“The other carcasses may have been washed away,” he said but investigations will be conducted on the report also.

The wildlife department was assisted by the Semporna police, Sabah Park, WWF and Omadal Island Women Association.

Tuuga believed the species involved was green turtle based on viralled photos of the carcasses.

Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) are protected under Schedule 1 of Sabah’s Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.

Sabah has recorded several cases of mass dead turtles washing up onto its shores, including two incidents in early 2014 where 60 carcasses were found in the Pulau Tiga waters off Kudat, while another four at Pulau Bum-Bum.

In March 2015, authorities again discovered 19 green turtle carcasses in Pulau Tiga waters that were believed to be the result of a failed attempt to smuggle the animals alive.

Discovery of sea turtle carcasses: Sabah sea gypsies the culprits?
AVILA GERALDINE New Straits Times 29 Sep 17;

KOTA KINABALU: Sea gypsies could be the culprits behind the recent discovery of mutilated green sea turtles on Pulau Bum Bum off Semporna, whose carcasses were found with their stomachs ripped apart.

The authorities suspect that the sea gypsies, known as the Pala'u, may have been collecting turtle meat and plastrons (the nearly flat part of the shell) to be sold in Semporna.

Sabah Wildlife director Augustine Tuuga said the turtles’ condition bore striking similarities to an earlier case where four foreign men were charged with possessing 18 plastrons, three bags of turtle flesh and a bag of turtle shells.

“We suspect the Pala’u have taken the flesh and plastrons to sell them (in Semporna). This means that there are buyers in Semporna.

"We will identify who these buyers are,” he said.

Tuuga said the plastrons and dried meat from the endangered turtles were probably being sold for consumption or medicinal purposes.

He also said the department had identified several individuals from the Pala’u community suspected to be involved in the recent poaching of the turtles on Pulau Bum Bum.

On Aug 23, four Filipino men were sentenced to two years’ jail and fined RM100,000 each, in default nine months’ jail, for possessing plastrons, flesh and shells from protected turtles in waters off Pulau Bohey Dulang in Semporna on April 30.

The turtle parts they possessed were from the Chelonia mydas species which is listed as a protected species in Part I of Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.

They were detained by Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency personnel who were patrolling the area and were referred to the Sabah Wildlife Department.

The four were convicted under Section 41(4) of Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 which was read together with Section 34 of the Penal Code.

No comments:

Post a Comment