Thursday, May 8, 2008

Save Our Sea Turtles

A cause that's very close to my heart ever since I volunteered for my first wildlife conservation trip back in 2003. I was introduced to it by my friend, Sam and since then I have returned almost every year. Come this June I will be returning as a Sea Turtle Research Unit (SEATRU) Volunteer to Chagar Hutang for my 5th time.

The first time I went, it was to experience actual conservation work and didn't really know what to expect and of course, it would be my first trip to Pulau Redang. But since that first trip, every return trip has been a journey of discovery... The landscape changes, the people change, the fellow volunteers are different but I guess if I were to list them, the following would be some of the reasons why I do it...

1. It's a worthy cause. Give back to mother nature.
2. Nature at it's best. Fresh water, fresh sea air...
3. Imagine watching a turtle crawling up the beach to lay it's clutch of eggs... trust me, it's a sight you will never forget.
4. Making new friends. My first trip there, I met 4 other volunteers... They are now some of my best friends.
5. Cutoff from the rest of the world... Can you imagine customers not being able to reach you on your handphone? Woo Hooo.... This alone is reason to go...
6. Your own private 300m long beach. It's all yours... Tourists are not allowed.
7. Of the people I have met there, 50% have or are planning to go again. I have gone 4 times and I am planning to go again.
8. It's way cheaper than Orca, Rhino or Tiger conservation.
9. Genuine Kampung, fisherman cooking...

One hope that I have is that I'll be around in 15 yrs time and when I return, some of the new turtles crawling up the beach to nest for the first time will be one that I have watched hatch and crawl from their nest to the sea back in 2003.

Well... I'll write more about my journeys in subsequent blogs... Till then, you can find out more about the program at the Turtle Research & Rehabilitation Group.

Volunteers 2003 (L-R): Sam MJ, PA Lim, Ng Poh Ling, Man (Staff), Eric, Ng Ai Ling, Shiaw Yang, Slyvester (Research Asst.)

Volunteers 2005 Top (L-R): Sam MJ, Cherng (RA), Ean, Mei, Shiaw Yang, Eric.... Bottom (L-R): PA Lim, Staff, Morita (RA)

Volunteers 2006 (L-R): PA Lim, Yee Suan, Hooi Hun

Volunteers 2007 Top (L-R): Felina, Nurul Radiah, Adie (Staff), Man (Staff), Ai Wa, Sang Sang, Karen.... Bottom (L-R): Seik Ni, PALim

No comments: