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Seatru uses donations from Berjaya to buy turtle eggs for conservation

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Seatru uses donations from Berjaya to buy turtle eggs for conservation

Post Number:#1  Postby timyang » Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:13 pm

KUALA LUMPUR: Since it was introduced in 1993, the Sea Turtle Research Unit's (Seatru) sea turtle conservation programme has been popular with volunteers.
"In a year, we have about 300 volunteers working with us. Sadly, we cannot accept the services of the other volunteers since we need to preserve the environment as well.

"In a week, we can only take eight volunteers to help us," saidSeatru team leader Dr Juanita Joseph, who has been involved in sea turtle conservation and research since her undergraduate days.

The programme was started by a unit of University Malaysia Terengganu's Institute of Oceanography at Chagar Hutang.

The isolated beach is one of three nesting areas on Redang Island which were declared a turtle sanctuary in 2005.

"In the early years, we had to buy turtle eggs from licensed collectors at RM120 per nest. Concerned Malaysians and corporations with a heart gave us money so that we could buy the eggs and incubate them.

"From 1993 to 1997, our purchasing of sea turtle eggs for incubation was supported by our main sponsor Berjaya Redang Beach Resort.

"The Berjaya Group has also been helping us to organise turtle camps for local kids on Redang Island every year since 1996, when we started them.

"Berjaya supports us by providing transport, buffet lunch and dinner for the participants.

"By 1998, through outreach programmes such as the nest and turtle adoption and volunteer schemes, conservation efforts had become more successful. We are hoping to see more positive changes in the coming years," Juanita said.

"Volunteers aged 18 and above help us monitor the nests, spread awareness through outreach programmes, clean the quarters, cook and more.

"When they come to the island for a week, they have to pay a minimum amount for their own ferry transfer, food and accommodation.

"Through our nest and turtle adoption programme, the public can adopt turtles for RM100. They will receive an adoption package which includes a certificate, T-shirt and information about their adopted nest or turtle with a tag number.

"At the end of the year, we will tell them how many times their turtle came up to lay eggs, how many eggs were laid, how many eggs hatched and send them pictures of the hatchlings," she explained.

Those who would like to help save endangered turtles, and stray dogs and cats, or help battered women, orphans, underprivileged and other causes, should attend Berjaya Founder's Day carnival on Feb 26 at the Boulevard of Berjaya Times Square.

You can help raise funds for 20 beneficiaries while having a blast at the carnival which bears the theme Building Communities, Enriching Lives.

The fund-raising effort is expected to generate RM1 million.

The beneficiaries include Kasih Hospice Care Society, Mercy Malaysia, Ti-Ratana Welfare Society, National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia, Women's Aid Organisation, Paws Animal Welfare Society of Malaysia, Protect and Save the Children's Association of Selangor and KL and Seatru.

There will be stage performances, a smorgasbord of food and drinks, games and contests.

Carnival booklets costing RM10 have vouchers which can be used to pay for food, drinks, games and merchandise at the Boulevard.

The indoor theme park will be open to carnival goers.

The highlight of the carnival will be a raffle draw which offers a Mazda 2 as the grand prize, hotel stays and more.

Local celebrities such as Miss Malaysia 2010/2011 Nadia Heng will be present.

Heng who is passionate about saving Malaysian coral reefs said she hoped to get more involved in voluntary work.

"I came back from China after the Miss World pageant at the end of last year.

"Since I left my old job, I have more flexible hours. So, I'm trying to get involved in voluntary work again," she said.

Nadia was introduced to volunteerism when she was studying at Taylor's College.

"After I started working, I got so engrossed in it, I wasn't really active in voluntary work even though it is something I have always loved to do. In college, I focused on the conservation of coral reefs and we called ourselves coral lions. We organised a beach cleanup in Port Dickson with the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) and National Service students.

"We also went to the turtle sanctuary in Malacca, and worked with the World Wildlife Foundation and Seatru in Redang Island.

"We helped to educate students and create awareness, understanding and appreciation of coral reefs, marine life and turtle conservation," she said.

Juanita said Seatru would use the money that it received for research.

"Our long-term conservation project is supported by income from our volunteer programme. With tourism booming in Redang Island, about 10 adult turtles were killed by boat propellers last year.

"The nesting mother will stay for four to six months, so we will put a device and use radio telemetry and depth sensors to track them and locate their home range or distribution during the nesting period.

"We want to know which area of Redang Island the turtles go to and if it is an area where snorkellers go, we can propose to the marine park to inform boats in the area to slow down and be vigilant.

"When the turtles come out of the water to breathe, that is when accidents happen," Juanita added.

"Giving back to the community has always been a commitment of Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun since the Berjaya Corporation group of companies was founded by him.

"The carnival will serve as a platform to promote volunteerism and generate a community spirit among Berjaya staff, our community partners including local artistes, NGOs which we support, business associates and the public," said Berjaya Corporation Bhd corporate communications and investor relations division senior manager Lydia Lye.
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