Green Turtles Return to Malaysia But Face An Uncertain Future

green sea turtle photo

Photo by syntheticaperture via Flickr CC

Green turtles have been battling habitat loss, the dangers of fishermen, and pollution in a loosing battle for decades, and in Malaysia they've faced a take-over of their beaches by tourists and egg-plunderers. Still, there's been a shift in their luck, albeit a precarious one. Green turtles are returning to Malaysia in the hundreds, but experts say that if the destruction of their habitat isn't stopped immediately, they may be wiped out after all. According to PhysOrg, initiatives including new hatcheries and other conservation measures have helped improve the number of green turtles returning to Malaysia's coasts, and until June there were as many as 200 turtles arriving to lay their eggs. All turtles are tagged, and 70% of those who arrived had been on the Cherating beach before.

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While there's hope for green turtles, hawsbills are much more rare and leatherbacks are practically non-existent. Elizabeth John from conservation group Traffic said green turtles are facing "the double whammy of losing their homes and their young." Authorities are working on a new law to ban turtle egg consumption and, with luck and enforcement, that should help the numbers rise.

The green turtle is listed as endangered by the IUCN and CITES and is protected from exploitation in most countries.

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