Illustration of a leatherback turtle. - JOBARD / HEARTS OF NATURE / SIPA

The state of Terengganu, an important nesting place for sea turtles in north-eastern Malaysia, will ban egg trade at the end of the year, local authorities announced on Thursday. Despite pressure from environmental organizations, the state continued to allow the sale of eggs of certain species, a delicacy sought after in local restaurants that some locals consider an aphrodisiac.

But turtle populations have declined rapidly in recent years due to this trade, pollution, but also because they are hunted for their flesh or their shell.

"Save the marine life"

Authorities have decided to ban the egg trade by the end of the year due to "a large drop in arrivals of all species of turtles in Terengganu state," the official said. 'AFP Azman Ibrahim, an influential local politician. "We hope that this will save marine life, protect the environment and boost the state's tourism revenue," he added, without giving details of the penalties that would be involved in the egg trade. turtle.

With its long coast washed by the South China Sea, the state of Terengganu is the most important nesting place in Peninsular Malaysia for turtles. Egg-laying and hatching are also major tourist attractions.

All affected species

The sale of leatherback turtle eggs had already been banned due to the declining number of animals coming to lay. Next year, the trade in eggs from three other species will be banned: the hawksbill turtle, the olive ridley turtle and the green turtle.

For Elizabeth John, of the NGO Traffic, this measure is "a crucial decision for the protection of sea turtles". Mohamad Uzair Rusli, a biologist working to preserve these reptiles, also welcomed "a bold decision" but warned that the challenge would be to enforce this ban.

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  • Threatened species
  • Tortoise
  • Planet
  • Animals
  • Malaysia