SAVING BRUNEI’S TURTLES

Written by root. Posted in BEST OF BRUNEI

Tagged:

Published on May 02, 2017 with No Comments

Hatching a programme to secure the future of Brunei’s gentle marine reptiles.

Words LIN JI LIAW
Images BRUWILD

01

01
Picture 1 of 4

 

 

Delve into the marvel of Brunei Darussalam’s waters, one would find three species of turtles. All but look alike, except to the keen sighted who can tell them apart. There’s the Hawksbill turtle with its bird-like beak, often found feeding on corals, helping to keep the health of our reef in check. The Olive Ridley, its colour changing from grey to olive green as it matures, can be found closer to shore feeding on crustaceans and molluscs. Perhaps much easier to find is the Green turtle that swims in the Brunei Bay, grazing and feeding almost exclusively on seagrass. From our murky shores to the deep waters, these gentle creatures have been playing a vital role in the dynamic equilibrium of our marine ecosystems.

As progress in human development takes place, these sea turtles face increasing threats due to habitat loss. Equally worrisome, these species face pressure from over-harvesting of their eggs and accidental mortality in fishing nets. There is urgency in conserving these species as their numbers are declining rapidly. The Hawksbill turtle is considered ‘Critically Endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), positioning them very close to extinction in the conservation chart. The Green turtle seems to be moving towards the same fate as this species is considered ‘Endangered’ while the Olive Ridley is now ‘Vulnerable’.

Working with global efforts to protect these species, local conservation group BruWILD (Biodiversity and Natural History Society) launched their ‘Saving Our Turtles’ initiative in 2014. This initiative builds on a four phased programme by first ensuring that its members are equipped with the right know-how through both theoretical and practical training in sea turtle biology and conservation techniques. This foundation then serves to build the next three interactive phases of the initiative where school children and the public are actively engaged to participate in saving turtles. The most popular programme involves learning about sea turtles through fun-filled quizzes and getting up close with the turtles at Meragang Biodiversity Centre, where rescued injured turtles are being rehabilitated. The public can also volunteer with the BruWild team in feeding the Centre’s turtles and keeping the turtle ponds clean. Sometimes, if the timing is right, they can also observe baby turtles, under the care of the Wildlife Division, Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism Brunei, before they are released.

Together with Brunei Wildlife Division, BruWILD also organises wildlife roadshows in local schools. The team conducts talks, presentations and interactive games that are specifically designed to educate school children in sea turtles biology and the importance of conservation.

BruWILD now seeks to expand into the fourth phase of its ‘Saving Our Turtles’ initiative. It hopes to encourage the public to symbolically adopt a sea turtle where funds generated will be used to care for, and eventually release, sea turtles at Meragang Biodiversity Centre back to the wild. Simultaneously, BruWILD is also looking to kick-start a seagrass propagation project as a means to provide stock for seagrass habitat rehabilitation.

On a mission to bridge the gap between sea turtle conservation and coastal development, BruWILD is dedicated to continuously provide educational, fun and interactive sea turtle programmes to increase the community’s understanding and participation in building a future where human and nature and sustainable development and natural heritage can coexist and mutually thrive. For more information on how to support BruWILD, visit www.bruwild.org

No Comments

There are currently no comments on SAVING BRUNEI’S TURTLES. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

Leave a Comment