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Terrapins thriving in Sg. Kemaman

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Terrapins thriving in Sg. Kemaman

Post Number:#1  Postby Turtle Conservation » Tue May 01, 2012 8:14 am

Terrapins thriving in Sg. Kemaman
30 April 2012, 8:56 am

Date: 29 April 2012

By: Sean Augustin

Source: New Straits Times

ENDANGERED SPECIES: Terengganu govt urged to gazette turtles’ habitat

KEMAMAN: THE discovery of a healthy southern river terrapin population along Sungai Kemaman in Terengganu has ushered in hope for the much threatened species, especially in the state.

The Turtle Conservation Society (TCS), which made the discovery earlier this year, is hoping the state government will gazette certain areas as sanctuaries. It is also urging the latter to stop issuing sand mining licences around the area.

TCS co-founder Professor Dr Chan Eng Heng said sand-mining activities would destroy their nesting habitat and would not bode well for terrapins along the river bank here, whose population, despite being a viable one, was also aged.

“Fortunately the number of breeding adults is viable and can help rebuild the population. We have time to save the population. It is critical we encourage a younger generation to be bred in the area,” she said, adding that her main concern was to maintain and augment the current population.

While the population along Sungai Kemaman, south of Kuala Terengganu, was viable, Chan said that they were still threatened by fishing and sand-mining activities as well as rampant illegal clearing of river banks for agricultural purposes.

The recent discovery of the terrapins here, which came as surprise to TCS, also augurs well for the society’s conservation efforts in Setiu, north of Kuala Terengganu.

Setiu had been described as “ground zero” for such efforts by the Turtle Survival Alliance, a non-governmental organisation which, in 2009, had stated that Malaysia was the last stronghold in the world when it came to the conservation of painted and river terrapins due to its significant population, especially in Terengganu.

“The healthy population in both Kemaman and Setiu means the state can become a research and conservation hub for this species,” Chan said.

River terrapins, or batagur affinis, are among the top 25 most endangered turtle species in the world, according to the Turtle Conservation Coalition.

Apart from Malaysia, the species is also found in Indonesia and Cambodia.

[img height=1 width=1]http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TCSMalaysia/~4/iGsleLQwJWk[/img]

Source: Turtle Conservation Society
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