The Perhentian Turtle Project (PTP) was officially established in 2015 as a sea turtle research and conservation initiative under Fuze Ecoteer Outdoor Adventures Sdn. Bhd. in the Perhentian Islands Marine Park. We work in close collaboration with the local community, stakeholders, Department of Fisheries (DOF) and Marine Parks Division. Our work includes kayak surveys, nightly beach patrols, sea turtle stranding responds, and awareness campaigns.
To conserve the sea turtle population of the Perhentian Island Marine Parks by monitoring them via photo ID and increasing awareness as well as engagement among the Perhentian Community
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 strandings
To create and raise awareness about sea turtles and marine conservation among the Perhentian Community (i.e. local community, stakeholders, tourists, and government)
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 feeding green turtles with one person in the kayak while the other snorkels. Once one is spotted, the snorkeler free-dives 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 would walk up and down Tiga Ruang in search of nesting turtles. When one does come up, we would photograph her facial profile, collect her biometrics, and assist the DOF rangers to relocate her eggs into the hatchery. We also help monitor nest and hatching activity in the hatchery: regularly checking nests and releasing hatchlings to determine hatching success rates. Just by being on the beach, our presence deters poachers, thus removing at least one sea turtle threat.
After obtaining facial profiles, we will 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 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.
PTP is currently based in two places: Kampung Pasir Hantu (Fisherman’s Village) on Perhentian Kecil and Pantai Tiga Ruang (Turtle Beach aka the nesting beach) on Perhentian Besar.
Besides the nesting beach, we conduct surveys at Teluk Pauh, the seagrass bed that serves as a green turtle feeding site.
"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