Gaya Island Resort’s Turtle Hotline In Action

(Left) Marine Biologist, Scot Mayback, attempting to feed the turtle. (Center) Ventral view of the plastron showing the effects of starvation. (Right) Close up of the turtles head showing high coverage of barnacles.

Gaya Island Resort, April 8, 2014


On the evening of April 4th Gaya Island Resort’s Turtle Hotline number received a report that there was a distressed Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) confiscated from a fisherman in the Papar Area. In Sabah sea turtles are listed as a schedule 1 totally protected species with RM 50,000 in fines and 5 years imprisonment for illegally harboring them. Dr. Nathan Sen, of the Wildlife Rescue Unit, had the turtle transferred to Gaya Island Resort’s Turtle Rescue Center where it is now recovering.


The Marine Center staff are working in conjunc.on with the Sabah Wildlife Department, and Dr. Nick Pilcher, of the Marine Research Foundation, to ensure it is geUng the best possible care. Further investigation suggests that this turtle may have been kept in a cage due to the severe emaciation and high prevalence of barnacles on the shell.


This juvenile sea turtle could be approximately 7-10 years old, has a shell length of 22.5 inches and weighs in at 7.7 kilograms. The sex of the turtle has yet to be determined, due to the condition of the turtle being very weak it is not advisable to preform the invasive procedure to determine the sex at this time. So for now the marine center staff are closely monitoring the condition of their new patient. Currently the plan is to keep the turtle for 30 days of observation, and if its is advisable at the time it will be released from the resorts Tavajun Bay beach.


Please report any stranded or illegally kept Sea turtles to the Turtle Rescue Hotline.