We are blessed with the wonders of sea life, and as a result we are drawn to the ocean. Out of all the sea creatures, there is no denying that one of the most represented (due to it’s fundamental function in the ecosystem and it’s cultural significance in tourism), and one of the most threatened is the sea turtle. According to WWF, there are 7 species of sea turtles and all them are pretty much critically endangered. They also can’t catch a break as they face a threat at every stage of their life cycle.
Fortunately, there are multiple efforts by NGOs, governments and individuals doing their part. If you wish to do so, you should consider Ecoteer’s Turtle Conservation Project. A company that strongly believes in responsible travels and eco tourism, you can get up close and personal with the communities and groups involved and the animal itself, by volunteering and being a tourist. As Ecoteer would call “Voluntour”.
The Perhentian Islands is one of Malaysia’s most beautiful beaches and it’s where Ecoteer’s project is held. A first of its kind in South East Asia, you will help the local researchers collect scientific data by snapping photos of the turtles while snorkeling. This is important for conservation because getting information of the behaviors of the turtles will help key decision makers of the island to make accurate management plans. This project is unique in a sense because current and previous methods of tagging is only done on nesting females. They aim to shed some new light on the creatures by finding out how many males and sub adult females are in the island.
Another part of this “Voluntour” program is the protection of the nesting grounds in the Island. The first part of this activity is to collect photos (non-evasively) of nesting turtles. The data will help the same researchers determine patters and will contribute to the management plan. The second part of the activity is to deter poachers from harvesting the eggs. While watching for turtles, you inform a government official when a turtle comes to nest. The eggs will then be collected and stored safely at the official hatchery. Sometimes, the mere presence of people is enough to deter poachers from coming.
So, if you are looking for a good time and one of Malaysia’s finest islands, and to swim with one of nature’s most endangered yet beautiful creatures, do check out Ecoteer’s Turtle Conservation Project. Be a part of something bigger while you enjoy the sun, sand and the sea, it is all what Ecoteer is all about. This writer has personally seen turtles in the wild and I can guarantee its an experience not to be missed.