Malaysia: Tour Operator Caught Promoting Sea Turtle Harassment

This photo showing snorkelers harassing a protected marine turtle in Malaysia has been shared hundreds of times by outraged Facebook users.

Disturbing videos and photos posted by Malaysian tour operator Perhentian Setia Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd show a group of snorkelers violating the law by harassing a protected sea turtle.

These actions contravene Section 27 of the Fisheries Act 1985 which states that “No person shall fish for, disturb, harass, catch or take any aquatic mammal or turtle which is found beyond the jurisdiction of any State in Malaysia.” Anyone found guilty can be fined up to RM5000 (US $1599).

WWF-Malaysia issued a statement saying that the enforcement agencies have been contacted and provided with the “relevant video and pictures related to the incident for their investigation and further action”.

The video and pictures show a distressed turtle that was brought up to the surface, manhandled, restrained and rode upon for the snorkelers’ delight.

The Malaysian organization Rimba posted a video of the incident:

You can help alert others of this irresponsible behavior by sharing the photo via the Rimba Facebook page.

The public is asked to contact WWF-Malaysia, as well as the Department of Fisheries (abkhalil@dof.gov.my, chekley@dof.gov.my) and Department of Marine Parks (fariha@nre.gov.my) to report any future issues regarding marine turtles.


Photo via the Rimba Facebook page.

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Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, and I work as an independent Wildlife Trade and Communication Design Consultant. I have journeyed to the streets of Hanoi to research the illegal wildlife trade, and to the rainforests of Sumatra and Java to document the world’s rarest rhinos. I am a Co-Chair of the SSN Pangolin Working Group. At CITES meetings, I collaborate with colleagues from around the world to lobby in favor of protecting endangered species. I am a Wildlife Trade and Trafficking Consultant for the upcoming documentary The Price, the host of Behind the Schemes and author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine. I enjoy desert gardening, herping, reading, designing, and walking with my dogs.