WHO ARE WE
The Perhentian Turtle Project was officially established in 2015 as a sea turtle research and conservation initiative under Fuze Ecoteer Outdoor Adventures Sdn Bhd in the Perhentian Islands. We work closely with the local community, stakeholders, the state Department of Fisheries (DOF) and Marine Parks Division. Our work include population surveys, nightly beach patrols, stranding responses and awareness activities.
Kampung Pasir Hantu
Kampung Pasir Hantu or Fishermen Village hosts the local Perhentian community. The project house is located here making it our main base of operations. This is where we conduct photo ID and inwater population surveys from.
Pantai Tiga Ruang
Pantai Tiga Ruang or famously known as Turtle Beach is where we do our night patrols, assisting the rangers with nesting sea turtle mothers, releasing the hatchlings and other hatchery activities while also collecting data and samples from the nesting population.
To conserve & protects the sea turtles of the Perhentian Islands by monitoring their populations via photographic identification and increasing awareness amongst the Perhentian communities.
To estimate the Perhentian sea turtle population size and dynamics
To identify the Perhentian sea turtle habitat use and connectivity
To respond to and determine causes of Perhentian sea turtle injury & deaths
To create and raise awareness about sea turtles and marine conservation among the Perhentian communities (i.e. local community, resorts, restaurants, local government body and other stakeholders)
We kayak from the village to Teluk Pauh in order to conduct our in-water surveys. We follow a transect parallel to the beach in search of foraging green turtles with one person in the kayak while the other snorkels. Once one is spotted, the snorkeler freedives down to photograph the sea turtle's facial profile, top and full body view while the person in the kayak records the number of people present around the turtle while ensuring the safety of the snorkeler from passing boats.
After sunset, we walk up and down Tiga Ruang in search of nesting turtles. Once we spot a nesting mother, we photograph her facial profile, collect her biometrics, and assist the rangers in relocating her eggs into the hatchery. We help to monitor the hatchery by regularly checking nests and releasing hatchlings that are ready. Just by being on the beach, our presence deters poachers, thus removing at least one sea turtle threat.
After obtaining facial profiles, we upload and organize the photos before comparing them with a database of identified sea turtles' facial profiles to determine re-sightings and new individuals. The unique facial scale patterns of each individual is what allows us to photo ID them. This method is not only less invasive and less costly, but also allows us to recruit citizen scientists by encouraging them to share their sea turtle facial photos with us.
Due to the accessibility of photo ID, we have formed partnerships with other sea turtle organizations within and without Malaysia with the hopes of sharing a database of facial profiles and discovering habitat connectivity within the region.
"An understanding of the natural world and what’s in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfilment."
- David Attenborough