Sourced from The Star online
By MUGUNTAN VANAR
KOTA KINABALU: The rare sighting of a hawksbill turtle laying eggs at Pulau Mamutik in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park has led to hopes that the endangered species is making a comeback.
The unusual occurrence on Dec 26 was witnessed by staff of Borneo Divers during a barbecue session for trainee divers at the island, according to Borneo Divers managing director Clement Lee.
“It came as a surprise to all of us. We have never encountered sea turtles coming to the (Mamutik) beach to lay eggs,” said Lee, whose company has been conducting Divemaster courses at the island for the last 25 years.
“We were having a barbecue when we spotted the turtle coming very close to the crowd. We had to ask everyone to keep their voices low and switch off the lights to allow the turtle to find a spot to lay her eggs (near a young coconut tree),” he said, explaining that turtles were sensitive to noise and light when they are about to lay eggs.
Lee said the turtle returned to the sea two hours later after laying her eggs.
“We were all so excited. We watched the turtle as it made its way back to the sea,” he said, adding that they immediately alerted the authorities who promptly fenced up the area and documented the time of the event.
Sea turtles lay between 80 to 120 eggs during each landing.
“It takes about eight weeks to hatch,” Lee said.
Pulau Mamutik is the smallest of five islands under the popular marine park. It is about six kilometres from the city.