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Jun 28, 2009

Help Save Turtles with Just One Signature by WWF Malaysia

April 2nd, 2009 | Published in news

Petaling Jaya, 21st April 2009 – WWF-Malaysia today launched the “Egg=Life” campaign aimed at improving the protection of marine turtles in Malaysia.

The campaign, which will run from Earth Day 22nd April to 30th September 2009, targets to gain pledges from 40,000 members of the public. People who sign up in support of WWF-Malaysia’s “Egg=Life” campaign will pledge to:

support laws that will ban the sale and consumption of all turtle eggs throughout Malaysia
support the call for comprehensive and holistic Federal legislation to conserve marine turtles
never consume turtle eggs, or trade in turtles or their parts
Anyone can sign up to support the campaign and help our marine turtles at Organisations and colleges that would like to undertake signature drives in support of the campaign can contact WWF-Malaysia for educational materials and postage-paid hardcopy sign-up forms.

At today’s launch, WWF-Malaysia Executive Director/CEO Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma said, “Turtles play a critical role in keeping marine ecosystems healthy; the same ecosystems which sustain our fisheries and tourism industries that provide food and livelihoods for millions of people. Marine turtles are threatened with extinction due to various factors, including: the practice of consuming turtle eggs, becoming accidentally caught in fishing gear, poorly planned coastal development, marine and nesting beach pollution as well as illegal trade of turtles and their parts.”

He explained that leatherback turtles have already been declared functionally extinct in Malaysia. In the 1950s, there were 10,000 leatherback nests in Rantau Abang each year; now there are less than 10. Moreover, turtle protection laws are inadequate. Current Federal law on turtles are limited. Under the Federal Constitution, it is the states that have the authority to make laws on turtles. State laws vary from state to state and are simply inadequate.

Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma appealed to the public and said, “Comprehensive and holistic Federal laws, additional resources and heightened enforcement are needed to effectively protect our turtles. Each signature in support of WWF-Malaysia’s “Egg=Life” campaign will lend weight to efforts aimed at improving turtle protection legislation in Malaysia, and I hope that everyone will log on to and help save turtles with just one signature.”

In Peninsular Malaysia, WWF-Malaysia works with partners including the Department of Fisheries Malaysia to conserve turtles at key nesting rookeries including Kem Terendak, Pulau Upeh and Padang Kemunting beaches in Melaka as well as Ma’Daerah and Setiu beaches in Terengganu. Melaka’s beaches are home to the peninsula’s largest population of hawksbill turtles – with 20 to 30% of the state’s total nestings occurring on the 120 meter strip of beach in Pulau Upeh, the densest nesting beach in Melaka – while a significant population of green turtles nests on Terengganu’s beaches. These nesting beaches must be protected from pollution and development because they are critical to the survival of our marine turtles.

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