KUALA TERENGGANU: A video of a turtle devouring hatchlings in a pool has gone viral and will likely land the operator of a resort near Pulau Kapas in hot water.
This is because the resort does not have a permit to keep sea turtles, much less declare the containment area as a sanctuary pool.
In the video, the turtle, believed to be of the green turtle species, is seen swimming in a pool with hundreds of hatchlings. In one scene, the turtle is seen crushing a hatchling’s head and devouring it.
The netizen who uploaded the video and picture on his Facebook account said the scene was captured at a ‘Turtle Conservation Sanctuary Pool’ at a resort near Pulau Kapas.
Jihia Koh, the netizen who posted the video on Facbook, claimed that he witnessed the turtle eating a hatchling until its eyes popped out. The carcass also drew other hatchlings to eat the remains.
He said he had informed the staff there but was told that this was “normal”. When asked why, the staff allegedly replied that there was “not enough food”.
“I think this is seriously crazy. Hatchlings have a very low chance of survival in the wild, but it has no chance to survive here and this place is called a turtle sanctuary,” said Koh.
State Fisheries Department director Zawawi Ali said his office was alerted to the video by members of the public and he has sent his men to investigate the matter.
“If it is true, we want to know who gave them the permission to keep the turtles and open a sanctuary. No one is allowed to keep sea turtles as pets or open a sanctuary at their own free will.. This is not just our law but it is internationally sanctioned.
“All sea turtles are endangered species. We may order the resort operator to close down the so-called conservation sanctuary pool and seize the turtles.
“We will relocate the animal to our observation centre in Rantau Abang. If necessary, we will release some of the turtles back to the sea,” he added. -NST