Friday, June 7, 2013

Marine police steps up effort to capture turtle poachers



It was a bittersweet start to the month for conservationists in Sabah as the Sandakan Marine Police successfully seized a total of 6,500 marine turtle eggs from poachers last week.

"While we celebrate a seizure because it deprives poachers of their ill-gotten gains, we also mourn it because such seizure often means  loss of wildlife. In this particular case, it is a loss of 6,500 marine turtle hatclings," said Dr. Chris Shepherd, Deputy Regional Director of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia and Dato Dionysius Sharma, Executive Director of WWF Malaysia in a joint press statement yesterday.

Chris and Dionysius commended the police for the seizure and the public who provided information that led to the discovery of the eggs.

Chris and Dionysius view poaching as a serious matter as it endangers the survival of a species that already faces numerous other threats to their survival. Dr. Chris Shepherd painted a very grim picture. He said, "All odds are stacked against the turtles. As female turtles lay eggs each nesting season, many are taken by poachers and predators from the word go. Hatchlings are picked off on their maiden journey to sea or get caught in fishing nets as they grow older. Very few young ones survive into their first year."

The State has taken a strong stance against poachers. The Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment of 1997 restricts the collecting or possessing of any marine turtle egg without  an express permit.

The Marine police are also actively monitoring the situation with frequent seizures.

An estimated 13, 200 turtles have been seized to date. This represents 65 percent of seizures nationwide. The largest seizure took place in 2008 when marine police managed to seize 10, 000 turtle eggs from four men in Sandakan.

The difficulties in arresting and prosecuting offenders especially across international borders have led Chris and Dionysius to call for international cooperation and to urge Southeast Asian nations to make a concerted effort to stop the poaching and trading of turtle eggs in these countries.


4 comments:

kris Kai said...

Seven different species of marine turtles grace our ocean waters, from the shallow sea grass beds of the Indian Ocean, to the colorful reefs of the Coral Triangle, and even the sandy beaches of the Eastern Pacific. WWF’s work on marine turtles focuses on five of those species: green, hawksbill, loggerhead, leatherback and olive ridley.

kris Kai said...

Human activities have tipped the scales against the survival of these ancient mariners. Nearly all species of marine turtle are classified as Endangered. Slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin and shells, marine turtles suffer from poaching and over-exploitation. They also face habitat destruction and accidental capture in fishing gear. Climate change has an impact on turtle nesting sites. It alters sand temperatures, which then affects the sex of hatchlings.

kris Kai said...

The enforcement do the right thing to stop the decline of marine turtles and work for the recovery of the species. This is important to secure environments in which both turtles—and the people that depend upon them—can survive into the future.

Anonymous said...

Stop harming the endangered species. Let them breed and survive!

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