Turtles born with deformities

Posted on August 13, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

-The Star- PETALING JAYA: Two to three turtles are born with deformities each month at a hatchery and conservation centre in Pulau Tioman. Most fail to survive beyond three days due to the deformities.

TAT Turtle Sanctuary co-founder Datin Seri Rowena Baker attributed the physical defects to sea pollution.

“We need to push for greater awareness for the preservation of turtles and of their natural habitat,” she said.

Last week, a blind green turtle from the centre went missing for three days, allegedly released into the ocean by irresponsible intruders. She was found by passing kayakers about 500m south of where she was released.

Affectionately named Jo, the turtle was born without eyes and had been rehabilitated at TAT and under the care of volunteers since young.

“She would have suffered a quick death in the wild due to her lack of sight,” Baker said of four-year-old Jo, which is the only turtle to have been successfully raised at the centre.

The 20kg green turtle has since become the mascot for turtle conservation at Pulau Tioman and attracts about 10,000 visitors every year.

In a separate incident on Tuesday, another turtle – this time a Hawksbill – was badly injured in the throat after it swallowed a fishing hook at sea.

Baker, who was part of the rescue team, said the turtle has been unable to swallow food since.

“The turtle is obviously under tremendous stress,” she said of its ordeal, and added that it would usually swim alongside divers at the east coast island.

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