Monday, February 22, 2016

Marked increase in turtle landings on Libaran island

SANDAKAN: Friends of Sea Turtles Education and Research (FOSTER) unveiled its new executive committee during its annual general meeting at the Sandakan Yacht Club on Saturday.

In 2013, Trekkers Lodge Sdn Bhd signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Sabah Wildlife Department and promptly set up a turtle conservation program on Libaran Island here.

The program includes creating awareness for the locals and visitors on the conservation value of sea turtles, undertaking research projects with the goal of better understanding the life cycle of sea turtles surrounding the Libaran Island area and to make available research programmes on sea turtle for international and local students.

To meet the objectives, Alexander Yee, managing director of Trekkers Lodge Sdn Bhd, has set up FOESTER in 2013.

Since then, FOSTER has sponsored 12 local villagers to undergo an Honorary Wildlife Warden course and subsequently provided employment for them to take care of the turtle hatchery, Taman Hadiah on Libaran island.

Turtle landings on the island have seen a marked increase and since November 2011 till January 2015, 25,939 baby turtles have been released into the ocean from Taman Hadiah, of which 16,406 are Green Turtles and 9,533 are Hawsbill Turtles.

Last year, FOSTER together with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and private companies such as ABC Tours Sdn Bhd, Traverse Tours Sdn Bhd and Sepilok Tropical Wildlife Adventures Sdn Bhd, worked with the villagers and have successfully cleaned up Libaran shoreline on a daily basis for the whole year.

Poised for the next phase of growth for FOSTER, a new team of executive committee (exco) members were elected and they will be leading FOSTER for the next two years.