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Jumaat, 23 Jun 2017
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Kenapa Kita Perlu Melindungi Penyu

 

TURTLE - WHY WE SHOULD PROTECT THEM

Are marine turtles mammals?
No, they are considered reptiles because they are cold-blooded, egg-laying animals.
 
Can they be found all over the country?
Turtles land to lay eggs in only a few areas. In fact, they are not found in Selangor at all. At most sites, only one or two of the four species are present. The Leatherback is found only in Terengganu, which is one of six spots in the world where they nest.
 
Which turtle is the most common?
The Green turtle lands most frequently. The number of Hawksbills is quite low, but it is the Leatherback and Olive Ridley that are worrying scientists. They may become extinct in six years if nothing is done to protect them. In 1997, only 18 Olive Ridleys landed on the Peninsula, together with 44 Leatherback, 368 Hawksbill and 3,327 Green turtles.
 
Who takes care of the turtles?
The turtles are under the protection of the Fisheries Department. But the duty of keeping the turtles safe lies with all of us.
 
How far can turtles swim?
Marine turtles are highly migratory and swim thousands of kilometres in the ocean. A Green turtle fitted with a tracking device in Terengganu was found in Philippine and Indonesian waters. Leatherback turtles normally prefer to live in colder places and normally only come to warmer areas like Malaysia to lay eggs.
 
How long can a turtle remain underwater?
The longest it can stay under without taking oxygen is two hours — so turtles must regularly come to the surface to breathe.
 
Do they lay eggs anywhere?
No! They have a few preferred sites, all along beaches, and they keep returning to the same spot. Why this is so is still not understood. In Malaysia, the Leatherback nests from May to August, the Hawksbill and Green from March to June, and the Olive Ridley from April to September.
 
How many eggs do they lay and how often?
The Leatherback lays an average of 60 to 100 eggs, the Hawksbill 130 eggs at one time, the Green 100 to 140 and the Olive Ridley around 100. They can lay eggs four to five times each season, resting in the sea for nine to 14 days before the next attempt. Turtles breed every two to three years.
 
What do the eggs look like?
The eggs are round and have a diameter ranging from 4cm to 6.5cm. The shells are white and soft, the yolk is yellowish red.

 

              
Penyu Lipas - Olive Ridley   Penyu Belimbing - Leatherback Turtle
     
 
Penyu Agar - Green Turtle   Penyu Karah/Sisik - Hawksbill Turtle
 
When do they lay eggs and how long does it take?
Turtles lay eggs at night when it is cooler and there are fewer predators around who will eat their eggs, such as birds and lizards. They also do not like noise and bright lights. It takes between two and three hours from the time they crawl up the beach to the time the whole clutch of eggs is laid and buried in the sand.
 
When do the eggs hatch and how do the babies get to the sea?
It usually takes between 50 and 90 days, depending on the species, before the eggs hatch. Hatchlings take about two to three hours to dig their way out and make their way to the sea. Hatchlings are distracted by lights so they might head towards the light instead of the sea. They also hatch at night because it is cooler and they will not get dehydrated; also, there is less chance of predators eating them. That is why it is important that turtle hatcheries do not release the hatchlings in the daytime. Scientists estimate that only one of each thousand hatchlings will survive till adulthood. That is why turtles lay so many eggs.
 
Can you tell what their sex are?
Actually, there is no way of telling which is male or female. Only in adulthood is it evident because the males have a longer tail than the females. The temperature of the eggs determines the sex — if the eggs are under shade where it is cooler, they will usually be males.
 
What do they do when they reach the sea?
They normally head for clumps of floating sea weed, which provides both food and home. During this time not much is known about turtles. They will be there for five to 10 years before roaming the oceans and eating according to their diet. It takes about 30 to 50 years before they mature, which is when they can mate and breed.
 
How do they know where to nest?
It's quite a mystery, but some turtle experts think that hatchlings travel using the magnetic fields around the earth. The baby turtles calculate the location and somehow remember it.
 
Why are turtles disappearing?
Their numbers are dwindling because they face many dangers, the biggest of which is humans. Populations of sea turtles worldwide have dropped by 80% to 90% since the 60s. The Leatherback is listed as one of the 10 most endangered animals and the Hawksbill is the sixth most endangered animal. Green turtle hatchlings. Scientists estimate that only one of each thousand hatchlings will survive till adulthood - just one of the reasons why we need to conserve and protect the turtles.
 
What dangers do they face?
Turtles and their eggs are eaten by some people and their shells are used for decoration and handicraft. Japan is the biggest importer of Hawksbill shells. Some turtle body parts are used to make leather, oil, perfume and cosmetics.
  • Development of resorts and hotels robs turtles of their nesting grounds. Lights from these buildings can confuse the turtles or distract hatchlings.
  • On beaches frequented by tourists, buried eggs may be stolen or crushed.
  • Tourists observing nesting turtles disturb them by shining lights, making noise or sitting on them.
  • Turtle habitats are being threatened. Coral reefs (where turtles find shelter and food) are being destroyed because of pollution.
  • Oil spills and toxic waste dumped into the sea can poison turtles or infect them with diseases. Turtles can mistake plastic bags and styrofoam for jellyfish and choke when they try to eat such material.
  • Fishing can also harm turtles. They sometimes get caught in nets or fishing lines, and cannot surface to breathe.
  • Boat propellers, water scooters and other types of motorised seacraft can injure turtles.
  • Apart from the threats posed by human activities, they also face natural enemies like crabs, lizards and ants which prey on their eggs or the young.
What is being done to protect them?
Eight Malaysian states already have laws to protect turtles. Perak, Penang and Pahang are working on theirs, while Perlis and Selangor do not have any. Among other things, these laws bar fishermen from using nets which may trap turtles, and the public from collecting the eggs of certain turtle species. Unfortunately, these restrictions are often not followed.
 
What are turtle sanctuaries?
These are major nesting sites which are protected. Only low-key development is allowed so that turtles can land. Turtle sanctuaries are located in:
  • Turtle Island Park in Sabah
  • Rantau Abang, in Terengganu,
  • Cherating, Pahang,
  • Segari Perak,
  • Mak Kepit and Mak Simpan, Pulau Redang, Terengganu
  • Cagar Hutang, Pulau Redang, Terengganu
  • Cagar Hutang, Pulau Redang, Terengganu
  • Pengkalan Balak, Melaka.
  • Pantai Kerachut, Pulau Pinang
  • Juara, Pulau Tioman, Pahang
  • Pulau Tinggi, Johor
What are turtle hatcheries?
To increase turtle populations, the Fisheries Department reburies the laid eggs in fenced hatcheries to prevent thefts of eggs. Unfortunately, this sometimes results in more female turtles because the hatchery is usually hotter than the shaded areas on beaches where the eggs were originally laid. Normally, about half to two-thirds of the eggs will hatch.
 
How can I protect turtles?
 
Do
  • Stop eating turtle eggs.
  • Support turtle conservation efforts.
  • Check with the proper agencies before developing any beach area.
  • Tell everyone why it is important to protect turtles.
  • Donate time, effort or money to help with efforts to protect the turtles.
Don’t
  • Pollute the sea with plastic bags and other rubbish especially those that will not decay.
  • Destroy the marine environment when you snorkel or dive by kicking coral or collecting it.
  • Buy turtle and coral handicraft.
  • Disturb the turtle when it is laying eggs.
  • Use fishing equipment which will harm turtles.

 

 

 
 
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