Responsible tourism: Malaysia turtle conservation project
We're committed to sustainability, in The Perhentian Islands in which we operate and in the ecosystems we encounter. We seek to minimise the impact of this trip by minimising and properly disposing of waste created, by conserving energy and water, and by ensuring that endangered wildlife and environmentally compromised areas are treated with respect. This is especially important as we are working with turtles on some of the days, so we need to make sure we make a positive contribution all round, instead of making any negative impacts.
We always strive to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Where possible we encourage our travellers to use public transportation, which also adds to the cultural experience. When we do need to use private transport we use modern fleets, which are more energy efficient and emit less CO2. We will be using a traditional Malay boat to get around the islands as well as kayaks!
Cultural engagement and exchange is central to our company ethos, as each trip is a unique mixture of adventure, culture, and philanthropy. We maintain that one only gets to truly know a place by getting to know its people. Volunteer days of the trip are guided by our voluntourism policies developed by ABTA voluntourism guidelines. On day 5 you will be volunteering your time to go on turtle patrol! This is crucial to ensuring the nesting turtles remain safe. That afternoon we will learn with the locals to cook freshly caught fish in the sand before another night around the campfire regularly patrolling for nesting sea turtles.
10,000 leatherback sea turtles once nestled in one beach in Malaysia, making it the the largest nesting colony of Leatherback turtles in the world. Now, they are considered locally extinct from Malaysia. Olive Ridley Sea turtles have faced the same fate and the Hawksbill Sea Turtles are on their way out. The Save the Turtles project, on the Perhentian Islands of East coast Malaysia has a plan to save the declining populations of the only viable population of turtles left-the Green Sea Turtles.
The turtles scale patterns on their flippers are unique to each individual, like a fingerprint. It stays with them for life. In 2014, the results of testing Turtle ID were very successful. Even poor quality photos can be used to identify individuals. Unlike other turtle population estimation methods, such as tagging female turtles whilst they nest, Turtle ID can be used to record the Ďactualí population of the turtles in the islands and gives us an insight into population structure and how effective conservation efforts are from year on year.
The research is simple. The plan is to train the local snorkel guides and to display informative posters around the beach, resorts and boats to remind boatmen, tourists and visitors about the programme. Relevant movement maps will be developed by acquiring extra data such as time, date and location. This will ultimately lead to localized management plans for sea turtles in the Perhentian Islands. This process can easily be expanded to include other islands and turtle populations by 2016. Itís about more than saving lives. Itís about learning from the mistakes of the past so that we can protect a future for a species who deserve one. We donate to this project regularly, and if any of our guests would also like to contribute, we know from first hand experience how this will be massively appreciated by the charity.
Additionally to the turtle project you will visit and support we try our best to involve the local economy in as many aspects of the trip. Our team in Malaysia are all local conservationists and guides to ensure we provide you with the best knowledge of the country and activities you will experience. Through our employment this means they have the additional funds to continue their work, and this benefits the local economy. The turtle protection initiative is run by locals who want to help protect local turtles. You will be staying at a locally run and owned hotel. During your stay you will be taught how to catch fish and cook it yourself from the local men.