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Rantau Abang FRI uses herbs to treat injured turtles

Rantau Abang FRI uses herbs to treat injured turtles

DUNGUN: The Fisheries Research Institute (FRI) in Rantau Abang here, dubbed as « turtle’s hospital », has been using herbs to treat injured turtles.

Its Marine Mammal Branch chief, Mohd Tamimi Ali Ahmad, said the institute had received eight reports lodged by members of the public on injured turtles and managed to save them all after applying the method.

« Normally, we received turtles that suffered from natural illnesses. However, some were also injured after being trapped in trawl and ghost nets used by foreign fishermen.

« In fact, the Endangered Marine Species Rescue Team – comprising the Rantau Abang FRI, Terengganu Fisheries Department and the Johor Veterinary Services Department – had recently treated two three-year-old Hawksbill turtles which were injured after being trapped in such nets, » he told Bernama here today.

Mohd Tamimi said the wound treatments were done by cutting off the infected region and dead skin that were oozing with pus due to being entangled in the trawl nets.

« The removal of the dead skin are to allow the growth of new skin cells. The wounded areas were then wiped with iodine and disinfectant. The herbs being used are turmeric and aloe vera.

« The fresh turmeric are crushed and applied on the wound for 10 minutes which acts as an antiseptic and antibiotics, as well as to stop bleeding and accelerate the growth of new cells.

« Next, the aloe vera leaves are squeezed and the gel is applied to the wound to reduce pain, stress, swelling and promote cell growth. Finally, 0.25ml of antibiotics jab is given to each turtle. The crushed turmeric were poured into the turtle pond to kill of the bacteria available in the water and to reduce stress, » he said.

Mohd Tamimi said in order to restore the loss of nutrients, the thin and starving turtles were fed with specially formulated food made of blended banana, papaya and brown sugar using a silicone tube three times a day.

« Behavioural observations and wound healing changes are monitored round-the-clock and recorded. However, the treatment differs depending depending on the severity of the injury, » he said.

Mohd Tamimi said reports lodged by the public proved that educational and awareness programmes on turtle conservation by the institute had brought about positive impact on the surrounding communities.

« As the ‘turtle’s hospital’, we hope to save more of that mammals in the future. This will only be achieved if we continue to get cooperation from the public, » he said.

To date, the Rantau Abang FRI had received between 5,000 and 7,000 visitors each year who came to see the life of the exotic mammal from the incubation to the hatching process and to beach release, as well as rehabilitation and conservation.

Admission to Rantau Abang FRI is free of charge. — Bernama

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