Malaysia: A New High for the Hawksbills of Melaka

WWF 17 Jan 12;

2011 ended on an optimistic note for the Hawksbill turtles in Melaka. 568 nestings were recorded along Melaka's coastline last year, the highest ever for the state. This number is comparable to the nestings recorded in the Sabah Turtle Islands, the premier nesting site for the hawksbills in Malaysia.

This positive development is a culmination of hard work and perseverance displayed by everyone involved. Patrolling teams which consistently monitored key nesting beaches were the key to securing more egg clutches than ever before for incubation. During the peak nesting season of April to September, patrolling was carried out every day from sunset to sunrise, and at times covered a cumulative distance of approximately 40km. The team comprised of WWF-Malaysia’s staff, Daily Paid Assistants, local youth, interns and volunteers.

In addition, the teams worked closely with the staff of the Department of Fisheries and licensed egg collectors in safely transferring the eggs at Pulau Upeh, Kem Terendak-Tanjung Bidara and Padang Kemunting-Pasir Gembur to the hatchery.

The patrols also extended to Balik Batu beach this year where in the past, many egg clutches have been poached. Committed and continuous engagement with the local communities also greatly facilitated safe and effective beach patrols.

The success of this year’s monitoring programme would not have been possible without the generous funding from the Malaysian public and WWF –Netherlands. With this support, this critically endangered Hawksbill population now has a good chance of bouncing back

By: Lau Min Min, Team Leader Malacca Turtle Conservation WWF-Malaysia