Drop in number of turtle eggs in Labuan marine parks is cause for concern

11 May 2023 05:37pm
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LABUAN - The number of turtle eggs at Labuan's marine parks has dwindled by 19.6 percent, possibly due to an increase in sea transport (vessel and passenger boat) traffic, climate change and sea pollution.

Labuan Fisheries Department director Faizal Ibrahim Suhaili said 2,864 eggs were found in 2021, compared with 2,302 in 2022.

He said the islands of Kuraman, Rusukan Besar and Rusukan Kecil are homes for hawksbill turtle [Penyu Karah] (Eretmochelys Imbricata) and green turtle [Penyu Agar] (Chelonia Mydas), with 20 nests found on the beaches in 2021, before dropping to 19 throughout last year.

"We are taking steps to ensure our beaches at marine parks are safe for turtle landing, but we must admit, there are factors that are beyond our control like climate change and the increase in sea traffic and sea pollution that can contribute to the decline in the sea turtle landing on our beaches," he told Bernama today.

Faizal Ibrahim said the number of egg hatchings recorded last year was 2,061 compared to 2,646 in 2021.

A study by SeaWorld Parks revealed that for most sea turtle species, undisturbed nests can have more than 90 percent of the clutch successfully hatch, while nests disturbed by humans or animal predators tend to have a 25 percent or even much lower success rate.

Meanwhile, Faizal Ibrahim said his department's team has found 52 eggs of hawksbill turtle at Pohon Batu beach last year with 48 successfully hatched and released to the wild.

He said from January to March this year, a total of 1,332 hawksbill turtle egg were found in Pulau Kuraman and Rusukan Besar.

"We found 11 nests in the two islands, with 672 eggs in five nests found in January, three nest each in February and March with 660 cumulative eggs were collected," he said.
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Faizal Ibrahim reminded members of the public to work closely with the Fisheries Department to protect the endangered species from extinction. - BERNAMA