GEORGE TOWN, March 22 (Bernama) -- The Penang Fisheries Department today released 70 olive ridley hatchlings at the Gertak Sanggul beach near here for the purpose of preserving this turtle species from extinction.
Its director Noraisyah Abu Bakar said the week-old hatchlings were from the 104 turtle eggs found by a restaurant owner at the beach on Jan 18 before they were incubated at the Pantai Kerachut National Park Turtle Conservation Centre in Teluk Bahang near here.
“We released all the hatchlings and we will ensure the probability of them returning here is great and we hope they will come back to lay eggs at this beach.
“Olive ridley turtles are becoming extinct, like what is happening in Rantau Abang (in Terengganu) where it is very difficult to increase the population of the leatherback turtles,” he told reporters after the olive ridley hatchlings release programme.
Also present to witness the release programme were Bayan Lepas and Batu Lancang state assemblymen Azrul Mahathir Aziz and Oh Ah Teong respectively as well as members of the public.
Asked about the remaining 34 olive ridley turtle eggs, Noraisyah said a certain percentage of the eggs did not hatch and some were temporarily incubated for research purposes before being released into the sea.
He said that since Penang was currently the landing site for olive ridley turtles, he reminded people to inform the department if they found turtle eggs, turtles or even their carcass to avoid them from being taken by any party to ensure the species was not threatened by extinction.
Noraisyah also thanked the owner of the Hai Boey Seafood restaurant, Tan Tatt Ghee, 45, for informing them of the olive ridley turtle eggs and for taking care of them.
Meanwhile Azrul, who said the programme could be used to promote Gertak Sanggul beach, advised the public to obey notices issued by the department on fishery methods (turtle and turtle eggs) and to immediately inform the department at 04-6572777 if they saw any turtles landing, laying eggs or dead.