By: Muguntan Vanar
KOTA KINABALU: Four more sea turtles have been killed and left floating at sea in the waters off Semporna in Sabah’s east coast.
The carcasses of the endangered species were spotted floating in waters between Bum Bum Island and Kulapuan Island by a Fisheries Department staff member, who posted it on his Facebook page and then removed it.
The latest killings come hardly a month after the discovery of 50 dead turtles at Pulau Tiga in the northern Kudat district, a case that remains unsolved.
Sabah Wildlife Department and WWF-Malaysia has initiated an investigation into the latest deaths of the sea turtles in Semporna.
Universiti Malaysia Sabah academician and researcher Dr James Alin, who discovered and highlighted the Pulau Tiga killings last month, said it was another sad episode in Sabah’s turtle conservation efforts.
“I don’t know if our wildlife enforcement is serious about going after those behind these senseless killings,” he said.
Dr Alin, who is with the UMS School Of Business and Economics, said such deaths were not uncommon in the area off Semporna, from his experience during his field trips to the area.
On the latest incident, he said the suspicion would either fall on seaweed farmers, fishermen or the foreign crew of deep-sea trawlers operating under joint venture companies in Sabah waters.
He said seaweed farmers were wary of the turtles (known to the locals as Bokko) that could wipe out their seaweed farms overnight.