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WWF urges Malaysians not to sell, buy and eat turtle eggs
Publication Date : 28-06-2012
If only tourists did not eat turtle eggs, they would be able to see more of the animals in Terengganu.
The public should stop buying and eating turtle eggs as “the practice creates demand for something that in fact needs to be protected”, said World Wiledlife Fund-Malaysia Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Dr Dionysius Sharma.
A check by The Star revealed that tourists flocked to Pasar Payang, which is one of the famous markets here where turtle eggs were sold, to get a taste of the eggs. Some tourists even bought them as souvenirs. A pack of turtle eggs can be sold for as high as 30 ringgit (US$9.41).
Eggs from several species of turtles including the endangered leatherback turtle are sold in markets in Terengganu as there is no law in the state that comprehensively bans their sale and consumption.
Several non-governmental organisations such as the Turtle Conservation Society (TCS) and WWF-Malaysia have stepped up the fight to save the turtles by discouraging the public, especially the locals, from eating the eggs and even selling them.
Turtle Conservation Society (TCS) co-founder Chen Pelf Nyok said the organisation had conducted many programmes over the years to teach the locals, especially villagers living along the seashores, about the negative impact on the turtles by eating their eggs.
“The villagers have been eating turtle eggs for many years. We have gone to such villages and asked them to stop selling and eating the eggs as it contributes to the decline in the number of turtles,” she said yesterday.
Chen revealed that some villages had heeded their calls.
“Villagers did not even know the turtles are an endangered species (prior to the campaigns),” she said.
Chen said TCS had actively conducted research and conservation efforts in Setiu and Kemaman.
By limiting the consumption and sale of turtle eggs, Chen said it increased the chance for eggs to hatch.
WWF-Malaysia's Dr Sharma called upon the government to legislate a law against the sale of turtle eggs irrespective of species nationwide.