Image: New Straits Times
Over 100 skeletons of dead sea turtles were found scattered in Pulau Bum Bum
In a report by New Straits Times
, the gruesome discovery was made by the Sabah Wildlife Department when they were investigating a report about turtle carcasses spotted on the island.
The bones were reportedly found near Kampung Pantau-Pantau, Kampung Amboh-Amboh and Kampung Sampolan on the island.
The department’s director Augustine Tuuga said in a statement that initial investigations reveal the dead turtles may have the result of poaching activities by sea gypsies
who often roam the seas in the area – the Bajau Laut or Pala’u
“Further investigation into coastal villages around the island revealed that the poaching activities have been going on for quite some time,” he said, as quoted by New Straits Times.
With regards to the initial report, the turtle carcasses were no longer in the area where they were first found and may have been washed out into the sea. However, the investigating team did find one carcass floating in the vicinity.
Based on the initial photos, the department reportedly believed the species involved was the green turtle
, which is a species protected under Schedule 1 of Sabah’s Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.
The investigating team has reportedly identified some suspects and will continue investigating.
Sadly, this isn’t the first case in Sabah. Similar cases involving mass dead turtles washed up onto the shore have reportedly been recorded in the past – twice in early 2014 where 60 carcasses were found in the waters of Pulau Tiga off Kudat and another four at Pulau Bum Bum.
And in March 2015, 19 green turtle carcasses were discovered yet again in Pulau Tiga waters and were believed to be a failed attempt to smuggle the animals.
We hope that the Sabah Wildlife Department and other relevant parties will get to the bottom of this very soon.
Photos of the dead sea turtles had gone viral on social media on Wednesday, causing shock and alarm among Netizens.