Yesterday (Wednesday, 27th September), a heartbreaking photo of dead turtles lying on a beach in Malaysia went viral online.
The graphic snapshot, posted on Semporna Viral’s Facebook, showed 8 out of 9 green turtles killed with their backs and stomach exposed. The merciless animal killing allegedly took place at Bum Bum Island, near Semporna in Sabah.
Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga believes that their unfortunate deaths were caused by humans. “According to the villagers contacted, there were 9 carcasses. Our team has gone down to the island this morning, so we are likely to update after (receiving) their report. We have asked our officers to interview those who discovered the carcasses to find leads, including where they drifted from and the possible cause of death,” he said.
Tuuga also confirmed that the person responsible for taking the disturbing image had already been contacted. “He confirmed that he took the photo yesterday. He sent the photo to his nephew who posted it on Facebook,” the director added.
Just last month, 4 Filipino fishermen in Malaysia were sentenced to 2 months’ jail and fined RM100,000 each for keeping green turtle parts such as meat, skin, and shells.
Green turtles are classified as an endangered species and are protected under Division 1, Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Preservation Enactment 1997. They are known to frequent sandy beaches in Sabah, Sarawak, Terengganu, Pahang, Johor, and Perak, to lay their eggs.