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X-Ray Mag #62 - Sep 2014
X-Ray Mag #62 - Sep 2014
X-Ray Mag #62 - Sep 2014
X-Ray Mag #62 - Sep 2014
X-Ray Mag #62 - Sep 2014
X-Ray Mag #62 - Sep 2014
X-Ray Mag #62 - Sep 2014
X-Ray Mag #62 - Sep 2014
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Leatherback turtle returns to Malaysia after 32 years

A leatherback turtle has made a surprise return to a Malaysian beach after 32 years, hailed as a "miracle" by conservationists and renewing hopes for the endangered species.
Leatherback turtles - Dermochelys coriacea
Newsly hatched leatherback turtles heading for the sea
The leatherbacks - the largest of all sea turtles - were once a star attraction at Rantau Abang beach in Malaysia's northern state of Terengganu but overfishing, poaching and pollution caused the population to plummet.

The turtle, dubbed the "Puteri Rantau Abang" or Rantau Abang Princess and identified by special markings, returned last month to end a long dry spell of turtle landings which have been rare in Terengganu since the 1980s.

The Puteri Rantau Abang, which was hatched in the area in 1978 and marked on its shell and left flipper, returned at a weight of 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds), measuring 1.5 metres (five feet) in length and 1.16 metres wide.

It was released back into the sea on Thursday, carrying a satellite transmitter which will help conservationists track turtle migration patterns.

Heading for the Pacific
"We expect Puteri Rantau Abang to head for Vietnam and Japan before heading to the Pacific," Malaysian Fisheries Department director-general Ahamad Sabki Mahmood said, adding that the turtle was also expected to travel to Indonesian waters and as far as New Zealand before returning to Malaysia.

Leatherback turtles have been around for the past 75 million years, surviving cycles of near extinction. Terengganu was the only place in Malaysia where leatherbacks nested. IIn the 1950s, up to 10,000 female turtles struggled up the beach to lay their eggs each year, but by 1984 the number had fallen to 800 and in 2006 only five nests were found from two turtles, without any hatchlings emerging.


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