Malaysia: Green turtle found dead at Pohon Batu beach; cause of death unknown

Bernama New Straits Times 9 Feb 19;

LABUAN: A green sea turtle was found dead at Pohon Batu beach here, with portions of its intestines allegedly taken out from its abdomen.

The most endangered and threatened species of the sea turtle was found by a villager at Kg Pohon Batu on Friday morning and it was subsequently reported to the Fisheries Department at 2.15pm the same day.

The discovery came as a shock to the Labuan Marine Park, turtle conservationists and villagers, who urged for a thorough investigation to be carried out on any elements of illegal hunting of sea turtles for eggs and meat.

Labuan Fisheries Department director Faizal Suhaili Ibrahim told Bernama that based on a preliminary investigation, there seemed to be no ‘foul play’ in the turtle’s death, but assured that thorough investigation would be conducted.

“The preliminary examination found no physical injury was found on the turtle's body and the case has been referred to the Turtle and Marine Ecosystem Centre (TUMEC), Department of Fisheries Malaysia, Rantau Abang, Terengganu.

“And I have discussed (with TUMEC officials) to engage a turtle's expert from the centre but unfortunately, I was informed the actual cause of the death is quite difficult to determine, as the carcass has decayed and any post mortem to analyse the internal organs cannot be carried out as the process requires fresh specimens,” he said.

Faizal said investigation paper had been opened and urged members of the public and fishermen to channel related information to his department.

Classified as endangered, green turtles are threatened by overharvesting of their eggs, hunting of adults, being caught in fishing gear and loss of nesting beach sites. -- Bernama