Malaysia: Protect the rainforest reserve and turtles

Underwater photo of a sea turtle on a reefThe green sea turtle has survived for around 200 million years – and now it is in great danger.

The Tanjung Hantu and Segari Melintang rainforest reserves are hotspots of biodiversity in the Malaysian state of Perak. The sanctuaries, which are home to turtles, macaques, pen-tailed tree shrews, pangolins and numerous other endangered animal and plant species, cover a total of 2,200 hectares.

The green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) is protected by law. Throughout Malaysia, only six nesting sites of this endangered species remain. The number of eggs being laid on Pasir Panjang beach has declined dramatically. Malaysia’s national environmental laws have listed Pasir Panjang and its surroundings as an environmentally sensitive area.

Nevertheless, an area of more than 260 hectares in and adjoining the nature reserve has been zoned for a gas plant and a steel mill. Construction is due to begin in a few weeks. The infrastructure that this would entail – roads, parking lots and homes for more than 1,000 workers – is a serious threat to the unique ecosystem.

The project is not only a danger for the environment: with a major share of their incomes depending on fishing and tourism, local residents stand to lose their livelihoods. The toxic emissions of the industrial plants would also cause health problems and acid rain. Local environmental and human rights groups such as SAM and CAP are informing and mobilizing the population against the project, and they need our support and international pressure.

Please help protect these fragile, unique ecosystems with your signature.

Start of campaign: Jul 25, 2013