FOSTER maps out plans for sea turtles conservation

Executive committee of FOSTER meeting at the newly opened Mango Garden Restaurant in Sepilok, (from left) Elsie Gidai, Dr James Alin, James Leong, Alexander Yee, Noor Hafizah Zubaidi, Haslin Gaffor, Yusof Teppo and Melchor Alsisto Jr.

SANDAKAN: The Executive Committee of Friends of Sea Turtles Education & Research (FOSTER) gathered on Tuesday for their general meeting to map out plans for the 4th quarter of 2017 and the 1st quarter of 2018.

FOSTER is a part of a turtle conservation programme made available after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Sabah Wildlife Department in July 2013 after its involvement in the setting up of a turtle hatchery on Libaran Island in 2012.

The programme includes creating awareness for the locals and visitors on the conservation value of sea turtles, undertaking research projects with the goal of better understanding the life cycle of sea turtles surrounding the Libaran Island area and to make available research programmes on sea turtles for international and local students.

From 2012 until July 2017, the hatchery had collected 26,672 Green turtle eggs and 10,598 Hawksbill turtle eggs.  Of these, 21,196 baby Green turtles and 7,474 baby Hawksbill turtles were successfully released into the ocean.

During the meeting, the committee made an evaluation of the programmes undertaken by FOSTER, such as community beach cleaning and dialogues with villagers at Libaran Island.

FOSTER is also working on a book on the turtle programme on Libaran which will be published by the first quarter of 2018. The book will record experiences on the island and will contain scientific data on sea turtle landings.

Seeing more work ahead, FOSTER will be contacting Sabah Wildlife Department to discuss on training more Honorary Wildlife Wardens to handle some of the anticipated work.

The tasks of these wardens will include patrolling the streets of Sandakan for illegal turtle eggs seller and turtle protection work on Libaran Island.

The discussion ended with the committee members having an afternoon tea at the newly opened Mango Garden Restaurant in Sepilok. Readers who are looking for further information could contact the president of FOSTER, Alexander Yee via email at forsterseaturtle@gmail.com.

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