32 years on, turtle returns to Malaysia

DUNGUN: Puteri Rantau Abang, a leatherback turtle which returned to Rantau Abang 32 years after it was first released in 1978, has been released again by the Turtle and Marine Ecosystem Centre.
This time, Puteri Rantau Abang which was identified through a marking on its shell and flipper when it returned on July 6, will carry on its back a transmitter to provide crucial data on its feeding ground and migration pattern.
Malaysian Fisheries Department director-general Datuk Ahamad Sabki Mahmood, who was present during Puteri’s release here, said the RM7,000 transmitter would allow researchers to define the turtle’s travel pattern and other data.
Puteri Rantau Abang, weighing 500kg and measuring 1.51m in length and 1.16m-wide is expected to travel across the Asia-Pacific region before returning home.
“We expect Puteri Rantau Abang to head for Vietnam and Japan before heading to the Pacific,” he said, adding that the turtle could also enter Indonesian waters, and to the Solomon Islands, Australia and New Zealand before returning to Terengganu.
Ahamad Sabki added that Puteri Rantau Abang’s return showed that Rantau Abang was being made a turtle nesting ground again after a dry spell in the 1980s.
“It is a miracle that leatherback turtles are making a comeback to this area,” he said, adding that the next speculated period for nesting is between Aug 15 and 20.

Source: The Star, Malaysia