Thursday, August 13

1,000 turtle hatchlings released at Mabul Island – Dive operator


KOTA KINABALU: Scuba Junkie, a dive operator inclined towards the preservation of turtles at Mabul Island off Semporna has released more than 1,000 turtle hatchlings since it began the turtle hatchling project a year ago.
Company director Richard Owen told press members during a conference held in conjunction with the Mabul Marine Week (MMW) 2011 that this was the first ever recorded data collected of the turtle hatchlings released to the sea on the island.

Owen, who is also a marine biologist by profession, said  the company had established a 20 feet by 26 feet hatchery on the island and that this could accommodate up to eight turtle nests at any one time.
Turtle eggs take about 60 days to hatch and so far, they have noticed between four and five turtles laying eggs at the Mabul beach every month.

Unfortunately, a lot of the eggs are lost as the island inhabitants do not inform the operator of their find, he said.
The existence of more than one village at the island also exacerbates the problem, he said.
To counter the problem, Scuba Junkie has decided to enlist the island inhabitants to help them care for the turtles and their eggs.

“We hope that by involving them and providing them with incentives, we’d be able to increase the number of eggs that end up at the hatchery and return to the sea,” he said.

The MMW 2011 will be held between Sept 24 and Sept 29, this year.

Scuba Junkie, as this year’s organiser,  has lined up an array of conservation projects such as beach cleanup, reef cleanup dive, education awareness with school children and many more.

During the event, the operator will also be launching its turtle hatchery programme at their beach resort and deliver a presentation on turtle awareness.

Members of the public are encouraged to take part in the five-day event.
Actress Sarimah Ibrahim  will be the ambassador for the MMW, the hatchery programme and the Mabul School of Hope.

Additionally, in line with the MMW promotion, Suria FM and will be organising a radio and blogger contest that offers lucky winners a three-day- two night stay on Mabul Island.