KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: About 50 endangered sea turtles have washed ashore with logs and debris in Malaysia, possibly due to strong currents after recent earthquakes in Indonesia, an official said Monday.
Two of the hawksbill turtles, which landed Saturday on muddy Kuala Tunjang beach in the northwestern state of Kedah, were found dead, while four others were injured and being treated, said state fisheries director Sani Mohamad Isa.
The rest of the turtles have been released into the sea, Sani said.
He said that the logs and bamboo washed ashore with the turtles were not found in Malaysia, and that plastic water bottles and shampoo containers in the debris had Indonesian labels.
“We believe the logs are from Indonesia” and washed over to Kedah by strong currents following recent tremors in Indonesia, he said.
Indonesia’s Sumatra island, separated from peninsular Malaysia’s west coast by the narrow Strait of Malacca, has been rattled by a series of strong earthquakes that killed nearly two dozen people last month.
Sani said this was the first time hawksbill turtles have been found in Kuala Tunjang, although some had nested in other parts of the state some years ago. He said he could not tell if the turtles came from Indonesia.
Malaysia and Indonesian shores are popular nesting sites for the hawksbill, a critically endangered tropical sea turtle with a sharp beak. The animals are hunted for their flesh and attractive shell.