SEMPORNA: Another seven turtle carcasses, with their stomach exposed, were found floating in waters near the popular Mabul island, last night.
The 10pm discovery was made by a group of islanders, who pulled the carcasses to a secluded area away from a resort to avoid drawing attention.
All the carcasses were found tied together and believed to have drifted to the Mabul waters.
The shocking discovery was streamed on Facebook Live by a user Joe Strazz. The footage showed a group of men on a boat inspecting and pulling the carcasses, while expressing their dismay over the incident.
Based on the conversation on the boat, the turtles were spotted stuck to the pillar of Billabong Scuba Homestay’s jetty. The group also counted the seven carcasses, noting there was another that slipped away.
“We are trying to bring these carcasses away from the island so they will not get stuck at the stilt houses and resorts (on Mabul). We are not sure what to do with these, but we are just pulling them towards the open sea.
“We are going to mark the area and will survey other sites to see if there are any more carcasses. The turtles are spotted by one of the tourists, who immediately informed us,” said the videographer to his audience.
At one point he mentioned the presence of police, noting they were not supposed to go to the sea as it was curfew hour and that they had not reported the findings to the authority.
Meanwhile, Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said the department was alerted of the incident this morning.
“We have sent a wildlife team to the island to retrieve the carcasses and conduct an investigation. I have also instructed all district wildlife offices to conduct massive operations against turtle poaching,” he said.
Early this week, the wildlife team had also responded to a viralled photo of eight mutilated turtle carcasses on Pulau Bum Bum off Semporna.
Upon arriving at the site on Thursday, the team only found one carcass while others were believed to have been washed away.
The team, however, made a shocking discovery when they spotted 100 bones from dead sea turtle carcasses scattered in the bushes near Kampung Pantau-Pantau, Kampung Amboh-Amboh and Kampung Sampolan on the island.
Tuuga had said initial investigations reveal the turtles may have been poached by the Bajau Laut or Pala’u community, sea gypsies who roam the seas, as they have been seen in the areas previously.