Turtle watch for conservation

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BY KOMALAH SELVA

BRICKS and Mortar is what I am trained for, but the sea is where I feel I can reenergize. When I came across Universiti Malaysia Terengganu’s Sea Turtle Research Unit (SEATRU UMT) through a resort’s website, it was a dream come true for me as it was not only a meaningful cause to contribute to and unique learning experience but also a vacation at beautiful Redang Island, Terengganu.

The SEATRU volunteer program was established in 1998 to provide long-term assistance for the monitoring, tagging, in-situ egg incubating and research at Chagar Hutang Turtle Sanctuary, Redang Island. This turtle sanctuary is one of the most important nesting beaches in the island, with approximately 700 to 1500 nests every year. The nesting season is from April to October, with the peak time in May to July. Green turtles are the majority at the beach, and very rarely a hawksbill turtle arrives. Leatherback turtles are said to be functionally extinct in Malaysia.