Work together to make Terengganu beaches turtle friendly – Expert


KUALA TERENGGANU – The turtle landing on Batu Buruk beach here last night  gives the message that the reptile is ready to lay their eggs along the 244-kilometre coast stretching from Kemaman to Besut, as well as on the resort island beaches, which have been their favourite spots.

Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Institute of Oceanography and Environment, External Research Laboratory head Dr Mohd Uzair Rusli said turtles are very sensitive and careful in choosing a landing to lay their eggs.

“With the rapid development and its close location to the city, Batu Buruk beach is no longer a popular turtle landing location.

“Actually, when laying their eggs, the turtles will look out for a beach as early as 3pm and as such, noises and activities on the beach in the afternoon will affect the turtle landing.

”The presence of the turtle last night was probably because there was no public activity to distract it, “ he said in a statement today.

Elaborating he said, it was time for all parties to work together to make the Terengganu coastline a safe and friendly environment for turtles.

“There are a few things to pay attention to if we want to see turtles laying eggs on nearby beaches among them, to reduce the amount of lighting towards the beach.

“Turtles are very sensitive to light. Do not place the lightings at high position and make sure the lights cannot be seen from the beach. Red lighting is highly recommended because turtles are less sensitive to the light waves,” he said while hoping that the local authorities (PBT) in each district would cooperate and take note of the matter.

In addition he advised the public to avoid going for leisure activities there and making bonfires at the beach at night.

“The PBTs can put up notices as reminders and to educate the public at certain and selected beaches. With the financial support of corporate bodies, the PBTs could put up more notice boards and display signs.

“We also need to intensify the planting of merambong trees around the beach area because according to reports turtles prefer to lay their eggs under these shrubs as they provide shade and protection. So, even though our beaches are noisy and bright, the merambong shrubs help give comfort to the turtles while laying their eggs,” he said.

Yesterday, a turtle was reported to have landed on Batu Buruk beach near Hotel Primula at about 6.50pm and managed to lay about 50 eggs.

Terengganu Fisheries Department director Ruzaidi Mamat said the weight and size of the turtle could not be ascertained as the mother turtle had returned to the sea when officers arrived at the location.

“However, the turtle is estimated to be between 15 and 18 years old based on the size of the track and the number of eggs laid. The turtle eggs were taken to the Turtle Conservation and Information Centre in Rantau Abang for the purpose of incubation.

“The public is advised not to disturb the turtles while they are coming ashore, crawling on land or moving back to sea, as the act is an offence under Section 12B of the Turtle Enactment 1951 (amended 1987) which provides a fine not exceeding RM1, 000 or imprisonment of not more than six months or both upon conviction,” he said.