Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Turtles are new attraction at Pulau Tioman

The world renowned Pulau Tioman famed for its breathtaking scenic tourism spots, now has another tourist attraction.

This time, it is in the form of turtles, the Karah or Hawksbill (Eretmochelys Imbricata) and Agar or Green (Chelonia Mydas) species.

Fisheries authorities said 90 turtle egg laying nests were found on the island last year where 60% of the eggs were successfully hatched.

Realising the need to conserve the turtle population on the island, the fisheries authorities decided to establish another turtle hatchery at the cost of RM25,000 located at Teluk Sri Intan beach on Pulau Tioman.

Fisheries director-general Datuk Junaidi Ayob said the department’s choice of the spot is due to the frequent landings of turtles at the site.

“We decided to establish the hatchery in an effort to conserve the turtle population at Pulau Tioman”, he said, adding that the turtles usually made their way to the island’s shores between March and October.

“We also hope the islanders play their role towards assisting efforts to conserve the turtle population,” he told Bernama recently.

Junaidi said the latest hatchery named the “Tengku Arif Temenggung (TAT) Sanctuary Teluk Sri Intan,” is the third of such facilities at the island.

The other two hatcheries are located at Teluk Baruk and Pasir Mentawak, Kampung Juara, Pulau Tioman.

TAT Sanctuary Teluk Sri Intan is the brainchild of the Pahang Palace that wished to see the conservation of the marine reptiles.

Hence, the department extended technical assistance to make the conservation programme a success, said Junaidi.

He said two of the Green and Agar turtles had landed on the island last April 27 and May 7, laying a total of 195 eggs at Teluk Sri Intan beach.

“Before this, 1,800 turtle eggs were buried at the beach and some 100 hatchlings were released in the waters there,” he said.

At Teluk Sri Intan beach, the turtle eggs were transferred into sand filled styrofoam boxes for the hatching process.

The boxes would then be buried between 45cm and 60cm for incubation in sand at the turtle nests.

The nests would then be encircled with a mesh of wire fencing to protect the turtle eggs from predators like monitor lizards.

A board denoting the turtle species, date of egg laying and the number of eggs would be placed at each of the turtle nests.

The eggs would hatch after 45 to 60 days later and the hatchlings would be released at sea during the night in an effort to reduce the threat posed by predators like eagles and sharks.

Junaidi said the department has identified more spots on Pulau Tioman that could be possible turtle landing zones.

“The locations are at Pantai Pasir Munjur, Teluk Saing and Teluk Penut. We hope this turtle conservation effort would lure more tourists to visit the island,” he said.

Sultan of Pahang Sultan Ahmad Shah opened the hatchery last May 9 where he also incubated nine turtle eggs and released nine hatchlings into the sea.




Source : STAR
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