New NGO aims to preserve Sabahan turtle population

A NGO set up at the nethermost town of Sabah is set to raise awareness regarding plastic-free beach sides- in an attempt to protect the turtles who roam Kudat waters.

The Kudat Turtle Conservation Society (KTCS), according to its chairwoman Francesca Winfield, will work to ensure that Kudat’s turtle population is conserved in the face of increasing environmental and human threats to its livelihood.

According to KTCS member Peter Pike, many turtles mistake water borne plastic for jellyfishes, causing them to choke and die while attempting to eat them.

The turtles, he added, feed on jellyfish and sea grass.

“That’s why people need to keep the seas and beaches free of plastic,” he said.

Kudat is both a breeding ground and migratory corridor for turtles that come from Kudat, Indonesia, the Philippines, go all the way up to

Vietnam and return to the beach they were born some 30 to 40 years later.

Around 1,000 turtles are estimated to be drowning annually in Sabahan waters after being caught in fishing trawler nets.

These deaths, they say, than can be avoided by the use of Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs).

Kudat is at the Northern Apex of the Coral Triangle, the world’s most diverse ocean eco system that feeds 120 million people around the Sourth East Asian region.

KTCS will also contribute in structuring the proposed Tun Mustapha Park (TMP), a 1.028 million hectare marine reserve area.

One can contact KTCS for membership details at: [email protected]