KNOW YOUR SEA TURTLES
ABOUT: SEA TURTLES
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Green turtles are the most abundant species found around the Perhentian Islands and Malaysia. These turtles can range from 1-1.8m total length, and are one of the longest lived turtle species- up to 80 years!
Adults are herbivorous, feeding mainly on sea grass while the young are omnivorous. This turtle gets it's name from the green colour of their fat, pigmented by chlorophyll from the digested vegetation.
Egg poaching is the largest threat for this species in Malaysia in addition to boat-turtle collisions.
Hawksbills are the second most common species found in Perhentian. It's named after its sharp beak, similar to a hawk, These turtles can grow up to 1-1.5 m as a mature adult.
This species are found around coral reefs, mainly feeding on sea sponges, jellyfish and algae. Hawksbills can live to be 50 years old, making them the marine turtle species with the shortest lifespan.
Poaching for their eggs and ornate shell is their biggest anthropogenic threat in Malaysia.
The largest species of turtle currently in existence, reaching a mature size of 2-3m. They are the only sea turtle species with a soft carapace (shell).
They feed on a diet of mostly jellyfish, and are the deepest diving marine turtle, reaching depths of up to 1000m.
Malaysia used to host the second largest nesting population of leatherbacks but they are now considered locally and functionally extinct - they exist elsewhere but not in Malaysia due to egg poaching.
The last recorded nesting leatherback in Malaysia was in 2017 - the nesting mother laid unfertilized eggs as there were no males in the immediate population to fertilize the clutch.
Olive ridleys are the smallest species of sea turtles, measuring less than 50cm and weighing up to 45kg.
They are the most abundant species worldwide, although they are rare in Malaysia. They migrate in large numbers and nest in large aggregations known as 'arribada'.
A predominantly carnivorous species, they feed on jellyfish, tunicates, bivalves and crustaceans.
Being small, these turtles are likely to be caught in fishing gear and marine debris.
The loggerhead turtle has the largest geographical range of all sea turtles. A sexually mature adult can grow up to 1.2 m and weigh up to 135kg.
Similar to the flatback turtles, they are omnivores but lead a primarily obligate carnivorous diet (jellyfish, benthic invertebrates and sponges).
Eggs and hatchlings are particularly susceptible to bacterial infections, such as Salmonella. Their primary anthropogenic threat is entanglement in fishing gear.
Named after it's relatively compressed carapace, flatbacks are a small species of sea turtle, reaching a maximum total length of 1 meter and weighing 90kg.
This species is endemic to Australian waters, therefore they have the most limited geographical range out of all seven species of sea turtles.
Flatback turtles are omnivores, but with a predominantly carnivorous diet on sea cucumbers, corals and crustaceans.
This species is most threatened by entanglement in fishing nets.
This species is relatively rare as they are spatially restricted to the North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.
Kemp's have powerful crushing jaws, specially adapted to molluscs, sea urchins and crustaceans (juveniles feed almost exclusively on crabs).
The population has been threatened most in the past due to hunting, however nowadays the biggest threat to this species is entanglement in shrimping nets and trawls.
Found in the Perhentian Islands
Found in Malaysia
T HE LIFE CYCLE OF SEA TURTLE
(E.G. GREEN TURTLE)
Did you know that the first 10 years of a sea turtle life is largely unknown by scientists and are called the lost years?
Scientists could not detect where the hatchlings go since it is challenging to track sea turtle movements during this stage due to their size and survival rate, making it a mystery for many.
However, recent study conducted by University of Central Florida, Orlando have revealed the whereabout of the loggerhead turtles during this period using a transmitter.
SEA TURTLE THREATS
Discarded plastic waste in the ocean leads to ingestion of inorganic material and entanglement. Both of these will lead to the death of a turtle.
Despite some areas being established as protected Marine Parks, many do not have speed restrictions for motorised vessels. Turtles are therefore subject to strikes from the propellers.
Commercial fishing, using long-lines, gill nets and trawls contributes to the entanglement and suffocation of marine turtles. Turtle exclusion devices are being developed to minimise turtles as by-catch.
Unfortunately, there is still a market for turtle eggs, meat and shells. Therefore nests and turtles are illegally poached worldwide.
The rising temperature of the planet has contributed to rising sea levels, taking away nesting beach habitats. In addition, turtle populations are skewed towards females as turtle sex is dependent on incubation temperature, making future populations less viable
Credit: Borneo Today
Hatchlings rely on the light of the moon to guide them to the ocean. With artificial lighting from urban developments next to the beach, hatchlings are likely to become disorientated and move the wrong way.
Only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings survive to
adulthood with natural threats.
But with human threats, it is 1 in 10,000 hatchlings that survives to adulthood.