16 July 2009

Sea turtle connection: Sentosa and Pulau Upeh

Pulau Upeh, site of the largest nesting congregation in Peninsular Malaysia, is to be developed as a Hawksbill turtle conservation site and potentially the next big tourism attraction in the state of Melaka.
How is this connected to Sentosa?

A satellite tracking study of Hawksbill sea turtles that nest on Pulau Upeh found that at least one of them, named Puteri Pulau Upeh (or Princess of Pulau Upeh) had spent most of her time in the waters off Sentosa!
And sea turtles have also been sighted in many locations among our Southern Islands.

Pulau Upeh lies just off Melaka.

Every year, between 200 to 300 Hawksbill turtle nests are identified in Pulau Upeh and the nearby beaches. This population is significant as it is the largest nesting congregation in Peninsular Malaysia.

Also, there is a 75% average hatch rate of Pulau Upeh turtle eggs handled by WWF-Malaysia; a 70% hatch rate is considered successful. (From Save our Sea Turtles by WWF on WildAsia 16 Feb 08)

The state government would be working with a private investor. Planned development includes upgrading the 120 chalets that had been abandoned for 10 years and construction of new ones. Work on the island will begin next month and is expected to be completed in a year.

Hawksbill turtles that nested on Pulau Upeh may travel 200 to 300 km to forage in the Riau Archipelago in Indonesian seas and the southern Singaporean waters, a satellite tracking study by WWF-Malaysia found. This discovery is a compelling reason to initiate transboundary, multinational efforts to conserve turtles. (From Save our Sea Turtles by WWF on WildAsia 16 Feb 08)

However, Worldwide Fund for Nature Malaysia chief technical officer for peninsular Malaysia Surin Suksuwan expressed shock when told of the revived resort project. “We are concerned that the project, if carried out indiscriminately, will result in irreversible impact on the turtles nesting and their nesting behaviour,” he said. He said the WWF had briefed state officials three weeks ago on the turtles and proposed a low-impact turtle eco-tourism project.

Full articles on plans for Pulau Upeh on the wildsingapore news blog.

Other media articles on the issue
More about sea turtles sighted in our waters
Other general posts

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