Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Endangered turtles get a helping hand

Wednesday July 9, 2008

KUALA TERENGGANU: Religious leaders have been roped in to create awareness in the preservation of turtles, particularly the endangered Leatherbacks.

World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) Terengganu recently got imam of local mosques together and conducted workshops on the conservation of turtles and environment based on the tenets of religion.

The imam would now deliver their Friday sermons and give a bit of focus on how to prevent the turtles from going into extinction.

“We touched on various topics on conserving the turtle habitat to ensure they continue to land on Terengganu beaches,” said WWF turtle programme team leader Rahayu Zulkifli.

“Imam have certain influence in their community and therefore we decided that they are the best people to put the message across,” she said.

“Islamic teachings have numerous discourse on environmental issues, hence the objective of the workshop is to link the teachings to conservation of nature and turtles.”

“We are not going to stop here, this is only a preliminary step and we will continue this crusade in other districts,” she said, adding that Malaysian Institute of Islamic Understanding (Ikim) facilitated the workshops.

Despite intense enforcement from various agencies, turtle eggs are still being poached at several hatching sites and sold illegally.

Other threats to the turtles include over-development of coastal areas, uncontrolled tourism and the use of non turtle-friendly fishing methods.

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