Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Turtles Make a Comeback to Terengganu

Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)

Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)

Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate)

Terengganu is well-known for turtle visitations.
Its beaches used to see up to 10,000 leatherback turtle landings in the 1950s. But over the years, turtle sightings had declined significantly.

Fortunately, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu stepped in and set up the Sea Turtle Research Unit (SEATRU) in 1993, with a station at Chagar Hutang on Pulau Redang – and getting themselves involved in conservation-oriented research on sea turtles.

SEATRU chief researcher Associate Professor Dr Juanita Joseph said Pulau Redang recorded less than 500 nests, with about 100 turtles landing, when the project started.

Turtle eggs. Photo credit: WWF-Malaysia/Lau Min Min

“We bought green and hawksbill turtles’ eggs from licensed turtle egg collectors at RM120 per nest,” she said. The eggs were for incubation.

In 2005, the state government declared the Chagar Hutang, Mak Simpan and Mak Kepit beaches on Pulau Redang as turtle sanctuaries.

Collecting turtle eggs for sale was abolished, allowing all the eggs gathered on the island to be hatched.

It worked. Nesting data showed turtle landings on Pulau Redang increased in 2010 – seventeen years after the research started.

In fact, at Chagar Hutang, for the first time, one thousand turtle nests were recorded and this number grew to 1,500 nests last year.

Indeed, a success story for the sea turtles.

I have earned a 5-member sponsor pin from Toastmasters International – for my sponsorship of at least 5 new members for Liquid Gold Advanced Toastmasters Club during this term’s membership-building program. Nice!

And that’s not all. My Toastmasters International’s Triple Crown report update is a revelation – only because it is very, very long!

According to this report, I have already earned 21 educational awards!

And why not? I am a very, very active Toastmaster!


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