95 Hawksbill sea turtle hatchlings set free at Labohan Gadong Beach

The Hawksbill sea turtle are known locally as Penyu Karah or 'Penyu Sisik'.

KUCHING, Aug 14: Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) released 95 Hawksbill sea turtle hatchlings at the Labohan Gadong Beach at Tanjung Datu National Park (TDNP), yesterday.

According to SFC chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton, who is also Controller of Wild Life, the Labohan Gadong Beach in TDNP on the mainland of Sarawak was established in 1994 as a turtle hatchery when a few green turtles were found nesting there.

“Since then, we have recorded a steady increase in the number of green turtles nesting here. Previously, Hawksbills sea turtles only nest in Talang Talang and Satang Island.

“On June 19, a sea turtle came to nest at TDNP and after 54 days of incubation, on Aug 13, we released the hatchlings to sea,” he said in a statement today.

Zolkipli noted that the coming of turtles to TDNP is a manifestation of the success of both the turtle conservation programme and the Sarawak Reef Ball Project in the effort to conserve, protect, regenerate and enhance marine biodiversity off TDNP’s waters.

He said the reef balls deployed have served as passive enforcement that hinders trawlers from entering the park’s waters, thus providing a safe haven for the turtles.

“A total of 1,100 artificial reef balls have been deployed in Sampadi-Tanjung Datu waters in 2020 under the Sarawak Reef Ball Projek Rakyat, which is inspired by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s great vision on conservation and protection of marine biodiversity,” he added.

On 19 June 2021, the park warden reported a Hawksbill sea turtle had come to nest at the beach of TDNP. Also known as Penyu Karah or ‘Penyu Sisik’, this is the first appearance of this species to TDNP since the park opened in 1994.

The hatchlings were then released from the total of 153 turtle eggs laid at TDNP, dug out and relocated to the hatchery at the park headquarters.

In total, 5135 turtle hatchlings have been released at TDNP since April 2021 which includes hatchlings from the Green Turtle and Olive Ridley Turtle. — DayakDaily