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PETALING JAYA, May 14 — E-commerce site Shopee has banned a Terengganu turtle egg merchant and blacklisted turtle eggs completely after Twitter users highlighted the sale of the controversial product on its platform.
In a statement provided to Malay Mail, Shopee regional managing director Ian Ho said that the sale of any animal or wildlife products on their website will not be tolerated and referred to their Prohibited and Restricted Items policy.
“We take stern action against users who do not comply with these standards.
“We have removed the listing and banned the seller from our platform, as well as blacklisted turtle eggs on our platform.
“In addition, we have a listing team that regularly screens product listings to make sure they do not violate our policies,” said Ho.
He also urged Shopee customers to report any suspicious or illegal items for sale by clicking on the “Report this Product” option in the top right-hand menu button of any listing.
Environmentalists on Twitter previously put pressure on Shopee to take action after discovering a merchant on the platform selling turtle eggs for just RM7.90.
Screenshots of the seller’s listing showed five-star reviews from customers who praised the “quick delivery” of the “delicious” goods, with one customer saying they would be putting in a second order soon.
The sale and consumption of turtle eggs currently lie in a legal grey area as the laws governing them differ across Malaysia.
The trade of sea turtle eggs of any kind are illegal in Sabah and Sarawak but in Terengganu, only the sale of leatherback turtle eggs is prohibited under the Terengganu Turtles Enactment 1951 (Amendment 1987).
Twitter user @ZoologiMY pointed out that while turtle eggs may be considered a delicacy for some, the tradition must be reined in to protect the reptiles from going extinct.
“In the 1960s, the world population was just three billion. At the time, there were not that many sources of protein and it was reasonable to accept the tradition of eating turtle eggs as long as it wasn’t gathered for commercial purposes.
“Now, the world population has hit seven billion. The sale of turtle eggs has gone commercial and it’s even a tourist attraction.
“Sadly, the turtle population has not risen in line with the growth of the human population and has instead been declining steadily,” wrote @ZoologiMY.
KINI TELUR PENYU BOLEH DIDAPATI DI SHOPEE— ZoologiMY (@ZoologiMY) May 13, 2020
Jika dahulu di pasar tempatan, penjual dan pembelinya kita boleh kira dengan jari. pic.twitter.com/QaOP8qdCmN
Malaysia is home to four species of marine turtles, namely the leatherback turtle, green turtle, hawksbill turtle, and the olive ridley turtle.
The World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia website states that the leatherback turtle population in Malaysia has dropped by more than 99 per cent since the 1960s, while the number of olive ridley turtles has fallen by 95 per cent.
Once boasting a plentiful population of green turtles, Sarawak and Terengganu have also seen a major decrease in the gentle sea creatures since the 1970s.