KUALA LUMPUR, JULY 27 - WWF-Malaysia has expressed shock at Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam's recent announcement the state government planned to develop Pulau Upeh, the primary nesting beach for the hawksbill turtle.
Its executive director/chief executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius S. K. Sharma said, what was even more alarming was that the plan surfaced in the wake of WWF-Malaysia's meeting with the chief minister last month, over the importance of Pulau Upeh and other prime nesting beaches for the turtle.
WWF-Malaysia stressed at the meeting that legal protection of all prime nesting beaches, including Pulau Upeh, was needed, he said in a statement today.
Further to legal protection, WWF-Malaysia also stressed that only low-impact turtle-based ecotourism was feasible on the island whilst providing the state with valuable tourism income, as well as ensure the survival of the hawksbill.
Dr Dionysius said proceeding with the development without considering the feasibility and the impact of the impending development on the turtle population, would have a catastrophic effect on the nesting habitat.
He said currently, the nesting beaches in Malacca, including Pulau Upeh, were not legally protected, and the viability of Pulau Upeh for hawksbill conservation is dependent on legal protection of the whole island. - Bernama