Malaysia: Netizens upset over photo of tourists posing with turtle

Isabelle Lai The Star 15 Aug 12;

PETALING JAYA: Netizens are upset over a photo of tourists posing with a turtle which was uploaded by wildlife conservation group Rimba.

The photo shows three people with their hands placed on the turtle’s shell while they pose in the water, allegedly in the Perhentian Islands.

A 34-second video of the incident was also uploaded.

Rimba, which describes itself as a “group of conservation biologists”, criticised their actions.

“Harassing a turtle for your own enjoyment is not eco-tourism, folks!,” it wrote.

The photo was shared over 120 times on Facebook.

Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) communications head Andrew Sebastian said they had lodged a report with the Marine Parks Department.

“This goes against all principles of eco-tourism and conservation. Wildlife should be observed and viewed from a distance,” he said, adding that the department had pro­mised to launch an investigation.

WWF-Malaysia said in a statement that the marine creature was a “distressed turtle being brought up to the surface, manhandled, restrained and rode upon for the snorkellers’ delight”.

Section 27 (1) of the Fisheries Act 1985, states that no person shall fish for, disturb, harass, catch or take any aquatic mammal or turtle which is found beyond the jurisdiction of any state in Malaysia.

It states that anyone who contravenes this is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding RM5,000.

Turtle harassed by tourists at Perhentian Island
Evangeline Majawat New Straits Times 15 Aug 12;

KUALA LUMPUR: Conservationists are up in arms against a local tour operator whom they believed promoted irresponsible behavior towards marine life.

A series of holiday snapshots featuring a group of snorkellers harassing a green turtle was widely circulated on the social media late last night. The photographs were initially posted by Perhentian Setia Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd on their Facebook page but quickly taken down following massive outcry.

A 33-second clip of the video was also removed. The photographs and videos clearly showed the snorkellers touching, manhandling and riding the turtle. A young boy in white rash guard top is believed to be the guide.

Turtles along with other marine life are protected under the Fisheries Act which states that no fishing, disturbing, harassing or catching is allowed. Failure to comply could result in a penalty not exceeding RM5,000.

Green groups such as Malaysian Nature Society and World Wife Fund for Nature-Malaysia (WWF) have contacted the enforcement agencies to look into the incident.

[Video clip is posted on the New Straits Time article online]