KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Wildlife Department (JHLS) rangers from Sabah Parks (SP) have discovered 19 green turtles carcasses in Tiga Island, which is located at the north of Balambangan – Bangi, north of Kudat, on last Thursday.
It is the second case since last year, when 50 green turtle carcasses were also found by a lecturer from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) at the same island.
According to the West Coast JHLS Wildlife Officer, Rolan Niun, they are suspecting the turtle carcasses are the remains left by failed smuggling activities to other countries, which were foiled by the efficiency of maritime and marine police patrols.
“The island is a strategic location due to its close proximity with Phillippine and uninhabited. The sad thing is, the media reported on Sunday that there were people who have information regarding this incident, but did not inform the authority,” he said.
There is a possibility that if the information reached the authority sooner, an arrest could be made to those responsible for killing endangered turtles.
He said the green turtle carcasses were found at the planned site for Tun Mustapha Marine Park which covers an area of a million hectares with the most diverse flora and fauna species in the world, and a source of living for 80,000 coastal villagers who depend on the sea.
Meanwhile, JHLS Director, William Baya, said they are saddened with the tragedy involving endangered species which happened at the same site twice.
‘The area is also under the jurisdiction of East Coast Security Zone (ESSZONE). Our department is hoping for a cooperation with Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Marine Police, and other related agencies to control and arrest individuals responsible for such actions,” he said in his statement.
He added that the public can send information regarding on the case to JHLS through the department’s 24 hours line, by dialing 012-8019289.
According to William, autopsy procedure can only be done to some of the turtle carcasses, as most of them have begun to decay.
Under the Wildlife Preservation Enactment 1997 Section 1 Schedule 1, green turtle is a protected species and individuals who are found guilty to hunt the species can be jailed up to 5 years or fined RM50,000 or both. – Sayangsabah