Quakes ‘Sweep Turtles from Indonesia to Malaysia’

KUALA LUMPUR ~ Strong currents swept at least 50 endangered Hawksbill turtles from Indonesia to Malaysia after recent earthquakes, an official said this week.

The turtles were found at the weekend by local villagers in debris washed ashore on a beach in Kuala Tunjang, Kedah state official Sani Mohamad Isa said.

“The turtles landed on a muddy beach along with rubbish such as bottles that bore Indonesian labels. We suspect they are from the Sumatra area,” Sani said.

“In the last few days, it has been windy and the sea was quite rough,” he added.

Sumatra, separated from Malaysia by the narrow Malacca Strait, has been hit by a series of earthquakes since last month.

Sani said villagers and officials released the turtles back into the sea except for two that had already died and another four that were injured.

The injured Hawksbills would be treated and released after they have recovered, he said.

Sani said although turtles had been sighted in northern Malaysian waters, they had never been seen at Kuala Tunjang as the beach is not sandy.

“In the last five to 10 years, we had sightings of only one or two and that was on Langkawi island, not in Kuala Tunjang. What we found on Saturday is very rare,” he said.

The World Conservation Union lists the Hawksbill turtle and Leatherback turtle as critically endangered.

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