Confiscated turtle recovering at marine centre

KOTA KINABALU: A Green Sea Turtle which was confiscated from a fisherman in Papar, is now recovering at Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre.

The Wildlife Rescue Unit coordinated the transfer of the turtle to Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre’s Turtle Rescue Unit where it is being treated.

The 22.5-inch long, 7.7kg juvenile Chelonia Mydas, or Green Sea Turtle, named after the green color of the fat under its shell, was malnourished and covered in barnacles, suggesting it may have been encaged.

Gaya Island Resort’s marine biologist Scott Mayback said they are now collaborating with the Sabah Wildlife Department and Marine Research Foundation to guarantee the best monitoring and treatment for the turtle.

The Marine Centre will keep the turtle under observation and treatment for a month, and if healthy enough, it will eventually be released back into the wild from the resort’s private Tavajun Bay.

With a lifespan of up to 80 years in the wild, this turtle, estimated to seven to ten years old, could live a long life once nursed back to health.

The endangered turtle, identifiable by its single pair of prefrontal scales rather than two pairs as found on other sea turtles, is endemic to the island of Borneo.

The team members of Gaya Island Resort are now able to safeguard it and hopefully release it back into its natural habitat in the near future.

This is the fourth turtle rescued by Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre, proving that its focus to rescue, rehabilitate and release sea turtles is visibly in motion.

Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre is the first turtle rehabilitation centre in the country, complete with turtle rescue hotline. It has a strong commitment in leading the community as well as its resort guests in marine conservation, also increasing awareness about the importance of turtle conservation.

The public is able to call the Turtle Rescue Hotline at +60 13899 9509 should they need information or spot a turtle in need of rescuing in Sabah.

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