KOTA KINABALU: Mystery surrounds the discovery of 19 dead turtles on an island within the proposed Tun Mustapha Marine Park in Kudat.
Acting on public information, officers from the State Wildlife department together with rangers from Sabah Parks, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and Marine police recovered the carcasses on Pulau Tiga on March 5.
Post mortem will be carried out by the State wildlife department here to determine how the endangered Green turtles ended up dead on the island which is located about three hours by speed boat from Kudat town.
West Coast wildlife Officer, Roland Nuin said the discovery indicate that there could be a huge market for parts from the turtle species.
“I highly suspect that they are meant to be smuggled out alive to foreign countries but failed because of the heavy presence of MMEA and Marine police vessels patrolling the sea,” he added.
Roland said the case looked similar to discovery of 50 turtle carcasses last year on the same island which is believed to be used as a transit point for smugglers because of its proximity to the border.
The area where the turtle carcasses were found is within the proposed park which measures almost one million hectares.