Two dead turtles found at Perhentian Island, probably killed by speeding boats, says NGO
PETALING JAYA: Two turtles were found dead in Pulau Perhentian, Terengganu, with one severed in half, after they were struck by a boat during the Labour Day long weekend holidays.
Photos of the animal carcasses, shared by the Perhentian Turtle Project, had gone viral on Tuesday (May 1), sparking shock from netizens.
According to project leader Wan Zuriana Wan Sulaiman, the turtles were juvenile and were not sexually mature. Hence, they were unable to identify their gender.
« We had a lot of tourists coming to the island for the long weekend and the boat traffic grew really heavy and busy.
« Some of the boatmen drive really fast and this could have caused a boat’s propellers to hit the turtles, » she said.
Wan Zuriana said six turtle deaths had already been reported from March to May this year, with five deaths caused by boat strikes.
In 2017, there were 16 reported turtle deaths.
There were due to boat strikes, entanglement in « ghost » nets/lines (irresponsibly discarded fishing gear such as lines and nets that continue to trap and harm animals) and other unknown reasons.
« If these turtles hadn’t been hit, they would have lived a long and prosperous life, swimming thousands of kilometres and seeing many wonders of the oceans that us humans can only dream of, » she said in a Facebook post on Wednesday (May 2).
« Please, if you are visiting the islands or any area where you know there are turtles present, ask your boat driver to slow down, » she added.
She said that only one in 10,000 hatchlings that make it to the open sea survives to maturity.
« We are in a race against extinction but with everyone’s effort we can surely turn the tide, » she said.
Wan Zuriana said after discovering the dead turtles floating in the water, the Perhentian Turtle Project team together with the local Department of Fisheries, carried the turtle carcasses back to shore and buried it near a shipwreck.
She said enforcement is needed to control boat activities and speed limits around the island, especially near turtle nesting areas.
She also suggested that boats install propeller guards to prevent the propellers from hurting marine life.
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