MALACCA: The landing of Hawksbill turtles along the Malacca coastline has increased by 50% over the last three years.
“This is due to ongoing conservation and monitoring efforts,” said WWF peninsular Malaysia seas
programme manager Gangaram Pursumal.
Efforts by WWF and the state Fisheries Department, which include protecting and preserving the natural habitat of the species, had helped encourage turtle landing and increased nesting sites.
Based on the department’s statistics, there were 402 Hawksbill turtle nesting sites along the Malacca coastline, an increase from 380 in 2009.
“In fact, we have recorded the highest nesting of 471 in 2008, which was a leap from 376 in 2007,” he told reporters after the launch of the Hawksbill Melaka Ecotourism project at Ismah Beach Resort at Padang Kemunting beach in Masjid Tanah here on Thursday night.
Gangaram said the ongoing efforts were focused on preserving turtle habitats, minimising the pilfering of turtle eggs and also reducing turtle deaths due to fishing activity.
“Constant monitoring and patrolling of beaches, especially during the nesting season, was carried out to prevent the theft of turtle eggs,” he said, adding some 100,000 eggs have been hatched in Malacca over the last two years.
WWF-Malaysia Acting Conservation Director Dr Sundari Ramakrishna said the Hawksbill Melaka Ecotourism project consists of a holistic educational activity designed for visiting families.
“Disturbance to turtles and their habitats will be minimised,” she said.
The project, she said, would see resorts and lodging operators along the Malacca coastline implement a set of standard operating procedures (SOP) and introduce proper guidelines to their guests during tourism activities.
Department director Rosmawati Ghazali said the effort could further enhance Malacca’s attraction as an ecotourism destination.
The state is home to the largest population of nesting Hawksbill turtles with an average of 400 nestings annually.
Major nesting beaches included Pulau Upeh, Terendak Camp, Padang Kemunting, Tanjung Bidara, Balik Batu, Pasir Gembur, Tanjung Dahan, Tanjung Serai and Meriam Patah.