Picture Show……Executive Committee of FOSTER with the newly appointed Director of Sabah Wildlife Department. (L-R) Mr. Yusof Teppo, Mr. James Leong, Mr. Augustine Tuuga, Mr. Alexander Yee, Dr. James Alin and Mr. Haslin Gaffor.
BY ROBERT SONTOLOYO
Sunday November 20.2016
The Executive Committee of FOSTER (Friends Of Sea Turtles Education & Research) paid a courtesy visit to the newly appointed director of Sabah Wildlife Department on 15th November 2016.
On behalf of the Committee, the president of FOSTER Mr. Alexander Yee congratulated Mr. Augustine Tuuga for his new appointment and also for the recent successful seizing of 3,011 turtle eggs by his enforcement team from the Sandakan interstate bus terminal.
During the hour long visit, the Committee updated Mr. Tuuga on the progress of the turtle conservation work on Libaran island.
As part of a turtle conservation program made available through the subsequent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Sabah Wildlife Department in July 2013, FOSTER was involved in the setting up of a turtle hatchery on Libaran island in 2012.
The program includes creating awareness for the locals and visitors on the conservation value of sea turtles, undertaking research projects with the goal of better understanding the life cycle of sea turtles surrounding the Libaran island area and to make available research programs on sea turtle for international and local students.
Since 2012 till June 2016, that hatchery has collected 20,262 Green Turtle eggs and 10,598 Hawksbill Turtle (totaling 30,860) eggs. Of these, 16,034 baby Green Turtles and 7,474 baby Hawksbill Turtles (totaling 23,808) have been successfully released into the ocean.
The Committee also discussed on the program undertaken by FOSTER such as community beach cleaning and dialogues with villagers.
Moving ahead, a book on the turtle program on Libaran will be published by FOSTER and more awareness programs involving the local school and capacity building on Libaran will be conducted.
“I am glad that FOSTER has been able to create more awareness to the public on the importance and values of turtle conservation. It is vital that we protect these endangered species” said the Mr. Tuuga “it is our Department hope that more people will step up to help and work towards this same goal of protection and conservation. It is only through united effort that we can progress together” added Mr Tuuga. He also reminded FOSTER to continue to work hard and keep up with the good work that has been started.
The discussion ended with the Committee members presenting a drawing done by the wife of Dr. James Alin, the advisor of FOSTER. It depicts a pangolin, it is another endangered species that Sabah Wildlife Department is working hard to protect.