More nestings bring hope

By Jack Wong

The Sarawak sea turtle conservation programme has shown success as more turtles are nesting on three islands off Sematan in the Lundu district. There were 690 nestings at Pulau Talang-Talang Besar, Pulau Talang-Talang Kecil and Pulau Satang Besar up to last month, compared to 249 in the first five months of last year and 496 in the same period in 2002.

“The number of nestings is expected to be the highest this year since the conservation programme began in 1996,” said Sarawak Forestry Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation biologist James Bali.

Bali, who oversees marine and wildlife conservation, said not more than 30 nestings of sea turtles were recorded yearly in Tanjung Datu National Park, Similajau National Park and on Miri beaches. He said 99% of the turtles that laid eggs in Sarawak were green turtles.

For the two highly endangered species – Hawksbill and Olive Ridley – less than 10 nesting turtles of each species were recorded in the state in a year.

“Sea turtles nest every three to five years, with an average of two to four nestings per season,” Bali said during a media briefing on conservation of sea turtles at the Talang Satang Islands at a hotel here recently. The session was chaired by state Social Development and Urbanisation Minister Datuk Dr James Masing.

Source: The Star, June 4, 2004