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Shangri-La releases 30 turtle hatchlings in Penang

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Shangri-La releases 30 turtle hatchlings in Penang

Post Number:#1  Postby timyang » Sat Mar 12, 2011 3:09 pm

GREEN turtle hatchlings scuttled about on the beach and instinctively headed to the sea as soon as they were released from the turtle sanctuary on Pantai Kerachut in Teluk Bahang, Penang.

The 30 hatchlings would return one day to nest on the beach upon reaching adulthood if they are females.

But no one knows whether they would return to their place of origin since the survival rate of the hatchlings in the sea is only one per one thousand.

The hatchlings were released by Fisheries Department personnel and staff of Shangri-La group which plans to adopt and promote the sanctuary for eco-tourism.

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts area corporate social responsibility and sustainability manager Tara Hammond said the sanctuary has tremendous potential as the beach is beautiful and unpolluted.

“What you have here is truly an amazing and one-of-a-kind place which would open the eyes of locals and tourists,” she said.

Hammond, who is on her first trip to Penang, said the group would organise school trips to educate children on turtle conservation and keeping the environment clean.

“We will organise camping trips for children to release the turtles while learning about biodiversity and environmental conservation,” she said after the release of the hatchlings on Thursday.

Hammond said a turtle exhibition hall would be set up in between Rasa Sayang Resort and Golden Sands Resort in nearby Batu Ferringhi.

“Hotel guests could adopt the turtles and they would be given certificates by the department. The turtles would be tagged so they could monitor their migration upon their release,” she said.

Apart from promoting eco-tourism, she said the group would focus on launching their own water bottling processing plant this year.

Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa general manager Desmond Hatton said the local community need to be more aware of the importance of environmental conservation efforts.

“Only a handful of my local staff have actually been to the sanctuary which shows how much effort we’ll need to put in to ensure more people know about the place,” he said.

Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa director of communications Suleiman Tunku Abdul Rahman said the group was raising RM18,000 to fix a transmitter on a leatherback turtle if it nests there.

“So far, we have raised RM4,000 and we will continue to raise more money as the transmitter will only last for six months before the battery runs out,” he said.

Fisheries Department officer Mansor Yobe said the transmitter would track the turtle’s migration routes.

“I am glad with the move by the Shangri-La group to adopt the sanctuary.

“Through the partnership, more people can learn about turtles and help in the conservation of the environment,” he said.
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