Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Migration patterns of sea turtles in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: The Marine Research Foundation (MRF) has deployed satellite transmitters on five juvenile turtles from Mantanani Island near here to identify the critical migration routes and near-shore habitats favoured by the turtles.

The study will eventually drive management and conservation activities for the turtles.

This work is funded in part by the Shell Malaysia Sustainable Development Grants programme, the Forestry Bureau of Taiwan, and the Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, said Dr Nicolas Pilcher, executive director of MRF, a non-profit conservation agency based in Sabah.

“Marine turtles in SE Asia are threatened through habitat loss and indirect capture in fisheries, and are in dire need of conservation action. With long maturation periods and low survival, they have extremely slow replenishment rates, and a population which has been depleted can take several centuries to recover.

“Understanding the needs of the turtles depends heavily on an understanding of the extent of habitat use and distribution, which can only be determined through complex research projects involving at-sea population dynamics, genetics, and satellite tracking,” he said.

By tracking marine turtles through the SE Asian region, MRF aims to raise the collective awareness of their plight and to provide the concrete linkages at an international level on which Malaysia may develop conservation agendas linked with other neighbouring countries to which turtles migrate, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Juvenile green turtles were captured during two recent research trips to Mantanani, and Sirtrack PT102 Satellite transmitters were affixed using a silicone base secured with fibreglass matting and resin following capture, measurements, laparoscopic examination and genetic sampling.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Migration patterns of sea turtles in Sabah

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