DUNGUN, Malaysia — About two million newly-hatched turtles were released by the Turtle and Marine Ecosystem Centre (Tumec) in collaboration with the Fisheries Department since 2001, in efforts to preserve the species for future generations.
Tumec chief Syed Abdullah Syed Abdul Kadir said that they had been working with the Fisheries Departments of Terengganu, Pahang, Johor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Perak and Penang to preserve four turtle species, namely leatherback turtles, karah, agar and cockroach.
“We managed to increase agar turtle nestlings to 820 as of Sept 25 this year compared with 450 nests in 1992, on Mak Kepit Beach in Pulau Redang.
“The nesting of the turtles on Mat Kepit Beach were increased and can be a model for turtle management in the country, as one million newly-hatched turtles were released on the beach within 20 years,” he said.
He said Tumec had managed to increase the number of turtle nestlings in Teluk Mak Nik Pantai in Kamaman by about 1,000 nests every year from 2009 compared with only 400 to 600 nests from 2000 to 2006.
“Tumec's success is due to the close co-operation with the Fisheries Department and 30 private companies which undertake the turtle conservation activities throughout peninsula Malaysia.
“We also managed to include almost 150,000 Malaysians through various awareness programmes each year at seven information centres and conservation of turtles nationwide,” he said.
He said Tumec is a research centre which conducts studies on turtles and marine mammals as well as provides technical services on management and turtle conservation programmes in Labuan and Pulau Layang Layang.