|Marine turtles in Malaysia: On the verge of extinction?|In: Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management. Taylor and Francis: Oxford. ISSN 1463-4988, more
Aquatic reptiles; Conservation; Nesting; Turtle fisheries; Cheloniidae Oppel, 1811 [WoRMS]; ISEW, Malaysia [Marine Regions]; Marine
Four species of marine turtles (leatherback, green turtle, hawksbill and olive ridley) are found in Malaysia. Current statistics indicate that the leatherback and olive ridley turtles are on the verge of extinction in Malaysia; while other species, excluding the green turtles of the Sabah Turtle Islands, are in steady decline. Consumptive utilization in the form of egg exploitation until recently, took place mainly in Terengganu. Turtles are also being used to promote tourism in Terengganu and Sabah. Population decline is attributed to a long history of egg exploitation, commercial hunting and harvesting of marine turtles in neighbouring countries, fishing mortality, loss of nesting habitats, marine pollution, negative impacts of tourism and the lack of a national strategy on marine turtle conservation. Marine turtle conservation efforts in Malaysia are not lacking, but need to be upgraded and coordinated. Legislation among the various states of Malaysia should be harmonized to ensure greater protection for these endangered animals. Existing egg incubation programmes should be expanded to secure a higher level of egg protection. More sanctuaries should be established in key nesting sites and Malaysia should join her neighbours in ratifying current regional instruments aimed at marine turtle conservation.