I posted about turtle eggs the other days and Pelf had done a lot in explaining to MalaysiaBest’s readers about the green turtle and the almost extinct leatherback. Terengganu allows the sale of GREEN TURTLES’ eggs but sales of leatherback turtles eggs have been banned.
I just found the news from BBC where envonrimentalists describing Terengganu’s move to legalise sales of GREEN turtle eggs as ‘crazy’. I thought it might be good to copy and paste whatever Pelf had explained here so that we Malaysians can get a better idea of what is going on.
Pelf’s first comment:
(1) Turtle eggs have been banned from collection and consumption in Sabah since 1976. Those eggs secretly sold in Sandakan are actually from the Philippines Turtle Islands – it takes them very long to smuggle them back to their mainland, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why they smuggle the eggs into Sandakan. I know because I was sponsored to do a research about it by the University of California.
(2a) Those eggs found in Terengganu – it is very difficult to tell whether theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re legal. In Terengganu, turtle eggs cannot be collected from beaches that have been gazetted as sanctuaries. But on nesting beaches that are not gazetted, anybody can do anything they want if they saw turtle eggs.
(2b) The collection and consumption of leatherback eggs have been banned, but not green turtle eggs.
Pelf’s second comment:
ImperfectlyMe: What species are you referring to? So far, only leatherback eggs are banned. Green turtle eggs can still be sold openly in the market. Like I mentioned earlier, ONLY the collection of eggs from turtle sanctuaries have been banned. Which means, the collection of eggs from beaches that are NOT gazatted are still legal.
But the good news is that the decision-makers and scientists are now drafting the Ã¢â‚¬Å“National Policy on TurtlesÃ¢â‚¬Â and hopefully all egg collection and consumption will be banned before it is too late.
At the national level, two Acts serve as the primary legislation for the protection of wildlife and fisheries:
(a) The Protection of Wild Life Act 1972 Ã¢â‚¬â€ applicable only in peninsular Malaysia, affords protection to wild animals listed in its seemingly exhaustive schedules of mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. Inexplicably absent from these indices are all species of turtles, terrapins and tortoises found in Malaysia.
(b) The Fisheries Act 1985 Ã¢â‚¬â€ includes turtles Ã¢â‚¬â€ for conservation, management and development Ã¢â‚¬â€ with the condition that each state in the peninsula draw up rules and regulations regarding turtles and inland fisheries. Currently, only six states in Peninsular Malaysia (Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Johor, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan) have legislation related to the exploitation, licensing for egg collection and possesion or killing of marine turtles.
And here’s what I picked up from BBC.
Terengganu’s head of agriculture and regional development, Mohamad Jidin Shafie, says conservation efforts seem to have failed.
He says banning egg collecting merely raises prices and encourages poaching.
But many environmentalists are aghast.
They say the local government’s attempts to stop the turtle egg trade have been dismal – eggs are on sale openly throughout the state.
And they have described the plan to regulate the practice as “crazy” and “simply not thought through”.
Conservationists say it would make it impossible to tell whether eggs have been collected legally or not.
Instead, they want a properly monitored ban and more support for their efforts to buy back stolen eggs.
If you ask me, I would say – Let’s live without eating turtle eggs. Leave them be and I am sure no one is going to get starve or poorer if our Government make a total ban for all turtles eggs, whether green, leatherback or otherwise. Cluck, cluck, cluck, quack, quack, quack, plenty of chicken and ducks eggs around. So why steal the turtles eggs? If the state government did not handle the matter properly, things can get out of hand and our whole country will get the bad name of destroying nature for a few bucks. Bad for tourism, no?
Visit Pelf’s site if you wish to learn more about turtle conservation because she is the turtle expert.