Changing trends and perceptions of sea turtle egg consumption in Redang Island, Malaysia

Meenakshi Poti, Seh Ling Long, Mohd Uzair Rusli, Jarina Mohd Jani, J.J.A. Hugé, Farid Dahdouh-Guebas

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1 Citation (Web of Science)


Sea turtles have been exploited at unsustainable rates globally. In Malaysia, their populations have faced serious declines because of diverse anthropogenic stressors including turtle egg consumption. Redang Island, off the northeast coast of Peninsular Malaysia, is an important rookery for green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) in Southeast Asia. The local community has depended on turtle eggs as a food and livelihood source for decades. Owing to the precipitous decline in sea turtles, the main nesting beaches became legally protected in 2007. Some turtle egg consumption continues despite the protection measures and long-term awareness raising. In our study, we assess the prevalence, motivations, demographic factors, and perceptions influencing turtle egg consumption and conservation. Through semi-structured interviews, we surveyed 73 respondents in Redang village. The interviews show that turtle egg consumption has decreased since the initiation of protection measures, making the eggs expensive and difficult to access. Using binary logistic regression, we found that the respondents’ education level and occupation were significant predictors. Education level was negatively correlated with age. People with higher levels of education (younger people) were less likely to eat turtle eggs, possibly on account of changing cultural beliefs and taste preferences, as well as increasing awareness. Those working in the tourism industry were less likely to consume eggs. The growth in tourism has served as an alternative to livelihoods that were dependent on the consumptive use of natural resources such as fishing and turtle egg collection. Further, tourism has catalyzed a shift from consumptive to non-consumptive uses of sea turtles. Many locals perceived the protection of beaches as important, without which they claimed that turtle populations would go extinct. This research shows that addressing sea turtle conservation requires a multi-targeted approach of regulating sea turtle egg collection, providing economic alternatives such as tourism and long-term awareness raising.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14
Number of pages20
JournalEcology and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2021


  • South China Sea
  • behavior change
  • human-sea turtle interactions
  • local livelihoods
  • sea turtle eggs
  • social-ecological system
  • wildlife consumption
  • Wildlife consumption
  • Behavior change
  • Social-ecological system
  • Local livelihoods
  • Human–sea turtle interactions
  • Sea turtle eggs


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