The Star, Malaysia
Thursday September 1, 2005

Merdeka freedom for terrapins

ENDANGERED SPECIES: Members of the Buddhist groups releasing the river terrapins into Sungai Setiu in Trengganu yesterday.
About 90 Buddhists from the Amitabha Huayan Buddhist Association from Selangor attended the function.

KUALA TERENGGANU: National Day meant liberation for 150 river terrapins that were released into Sungai Setiu here yesterday.

Dubbed Terrapin Independence Day, it was the first such event to be held in the state in its effort to preserve the critically endangered species.

Also present were eight members of the Malaysian Mahayana Buddhist Association and 32 members of the Terengganu Chung Ling Alumni Association.

The groups sponsored the year-old terrapins for the ?release of life? ceremony.

Turtle scientist Prof Chan Eng Heng of Kolej Universiti Sains dan Teknologi Malaysia said the freshwater turtles had microchips embedded in them to enable scientists to monitor their survival.

State Economic Planning Unit assistant director Wan Musa Wan Muda released the heaviest terrapin, weighing 1.02kg, which had a miniature Jalur Gemilang taped to its shell.

The flag was removed before the terrapin was set free.

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