A Malaysian tour operator is under government investigation after a photo of a child sitting on the shell of an endangered sea turtle went viral.

The picture posted to Instagram on Sunday showed the young girl in an orange safety jacket riding a critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle while an adult uses his/her foot to squash the beautiful creature’s back leg.

According to the Business Insider Malaysia, the picture was posted with the caption: “to appeal to tourists, the tour and boat operator caught the turtle and put it on the boat for tourists to take pictures with”.


Posted by 沙巴人情味 on Saturday, January 5, 2019

The publication wrote that the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) was aware of the photo and Director, Augustine Tuuga, had assured appalled internet users that an enforcement team from Semporna had been sent to investigate.

Tuuga said the team had been unable to prove the incident and believe it may have been a “recycled photo”.

Despite the department’s findings, Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew described the behaviour within the photo as an “offence” and instructed further investigation.


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