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Turtle Volunteer Conservation Project

Join our sea turtle volunteer conservation project in the Perhentian Islands and help protect turtles by night and snap photos of them by day.

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Why Choose This Project?

What sets us apart from other sea turtle conservation projects is that we get the best of both the social and environmental aspects in conservation – living among and working with the local community as we carry out our daytime and nocturnal activities. You will snorkel in the sea by day observing and taking photo IDs of foraging sea turtles. At night, you will patrol the nesting beach under a blanket of stars to protect the beach and collect nesting data on sea turtles.

Project Highlights

About the Project

The Perhentian Turtle Project (PTP) was established by Fuze Ecoteer in 2015. The project works in close collaboration with the local community, stakeholders, Department of Fisheries (DOF) and Marine Parks Division. The turtle volunteer conservation project 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.

The islands are becoming increasingly popular for low budget tourism, which means more people, more tourist activities at the cost to the environment. PTP aims to conserve the sea turtle population of the Perhentian Island Marine Parks by monitoring them via photo ID and increasing awareness and engagement among the Perhentian Community and tourists. Learn more about the project and its impacts in 2019.  Sea turtles live across the whole of Asia. To find out more about turtles in general and their distribution across Asia, please read this blog, Sea turtles in Asia.

perhentian turtle project logo colour
Testimonials
The team at the Perhentian Turtle Project are dedicated to their cause and do it all the while with a positive attitude. Everyone on that team loved what they were doing and to be able to experience something so special... Recording nesting or feeding turtles... Releasing hatchlings back into the ocean was something no one could soon forget. I hope this project flourishes and progresses far into the future. Projects like these will save our marine turtles and keep them among us in years to come. - Jacob
Testimonials
This program was truly magical! Firstly, all the project staff were passionate, fun-loving, enthusiastic and so caring. Everyone had a common goal of helping the world and it was such a refreshing approach to life. Secondly, it really feels like you are contributing when you release the little hatchlings into the ocean. Moments I will never forget. Thirdly, it was simultaneously such a relaxing trip with lots of downtimes. I would definitely recommend travelling with a buddy so you can spend this time exploring the island together. - Ranita
Testimonials
I was lucky enough to spend 2 weeks at this beautiful island. It was extremely rewarding for me to be able to do something meaningful in my country, which also happens to be a tropical paradise! The organisation is relatively small, which is perfect because you get the chance to bond with the amazing interns volunteering there. The whole group is made of people from different countries, which I loved; however, so few Malaysians being interested in conservation projects like this. If you're Malaysian and you're reading this, good on you because you're halfway there! (now go click the sign up button will ya?) - Pei Yan
Testimonials
I was a volunteer coordinator for the project from June - November 2017 and it was an incredible experience. I learned so much about turtle conservation and met so many great people during my time there. The work that is done has a real impact on the turtles within the area, we carried out worthwhile research and did our part to protect the local environment. The perhentian islands are a beautiful place to work and the local people are extremely kind, I had an amazing time and would recommend to anyone! - Dan Read
Testimonials
I was lucky enough to live as an intern at the Perhentian Island Turtle Project and assist with their programme for a few months in 2019. I loved kayaking over to the turtle feeding sight, it is quite a paddle but it certainly keeps you fit. Learning to free dive to take photos of the turtles feeding was great too because you can see up close just how magical these creatures are. However, nothing beats spending nights with the nesting turtles to collect their eggs and releasing hatchlings. The beach is closed off to tourists at night so it feels incredibly special to be there. The sunsets are incredible and in the day you get to relax and catch up on sleep on one of the most pristine and beautiful beaches in the islands. - Lucy

Volunteer Project Details

Start of the Week

Arrival on Monday | Briefing and Orientation | Water Confidence | Turtle Photo ID survey practice run | Small artwork project | Data analysis and review

Midweek

Beach cleanup | Awareness Board | Data analysis | Malay Dinner | Snorkel Tour | Preparation for Turtle Watch at Tiga Ruang | Turtle watch

End of the week & Weekend

Awareness campaign at Tiga Ruang | Rest & Free time | Turtle watch | Back to the village and free day or departure

* Detailed itinerary will be provided after booking with us.
 

Kayak surveys

The scutes (scales) on the flippers and the side of a green turtle’s face are unique to each individual. Once one is spotted, the snorkeler free-dives down to photograph the sea turtle. On the other hand, the person on the kayak records the number of people present around the turtle. They also help to ensure the safety of the snorkeler from passing boats. If new turtles are discovered, it is yours to name!

Why do this?

The information gathered is vital for conservation measures. It enables us to determine population numbers, identify hotspots where conservation efforts need to be focused and also movement patterns of the turtles. This data would also be useful to decision makers to design the Marine Park Zonation Plan.

Journal from Kayak Surveys

These surveys have produced this peered reviewed research article – Using photo identification to monitor the sea turtle population in the Perhentian islands.

Turtle Watch

What will I do?

Volunteers will help the team to collect non-flash photos of nesting sea turtles at beaches around the Perhentian Islands. The photos that you collect will help our researchers to study the sea turtle population in the Perhentian islands.

Moreover, volunteers and the team will be patrolling the nesting beach at night to prevent poachers from collecting sea turtles eggs. The patrols done are in addition to the patrols done by the Terengganu State Department of Fisheries staff to strengthen security of the nesting beaches against poachers.

What happens to the eggs?

The eggs are then collected and transferred to the project’s hatchery on the island. Better beach management such as the on-going turtle patrol has proven to reduce the natural and human threats on nesting beach.

Awareness Talk

Our team also goes around dive shops and resorts to conduct awareness talks to the public especially to tourists. Volunteers will get to learn about sea turtles conservation and will also be educating the public during one of these talks. Talk about doing work that makes an impact! Awareness talks are one of the ways to get information out to the public. An eco-educated tourist would do so much in conserving these magnificent creatures.

Volunteer interview

Read Clem Carroll’s Interview about her volunteering with the Perhentian Turtle project. Clem found the awareness talks very rewarding.

Beach Clean Up

At our projects, we commit to weekly beach clean-ups to ensure that the beach and consequently the ocean is clean and safe for marine life. Volunteers will help us during our beach clean-up. The trash will then be sorted according to recyclable and non recyclable items. Furthermore, data on the clean up will also be collected for further studies and given to Ocean Conservancy to create annual reports.

Malay Dinner

A big part of our project is the community. We live in the village and work with local community. Volunteers will get to have a taste of authentic Malay food at the house of one of the ladies of PILA i.e Perhentian Ladies of Association. 

Fun fact: Fuze Ecoteer established the Perhentian Ladies of Association in 2012 for the housewives of Perhentian. It was established as a way for them to earn an income. It now proudly stands on its own and even has a cafe!

Starting Dates

Any Monday in April until end of September for 2020 and 2021.

Malaysian Bookings

1 week  RM900 Shoulder RM1,100 Peak

2 Weeks RM1,800 Shoulder RM2,200 Peak

3 Weeks RM2,600 Shoulder RM3,300 Peak

4 Weeks RM3,400 Shoulder RM4,400 Peak

All fees include return boat transfer, marine park fee, three meals per day, basic fan dormitory with shared bathroom, all activities.

Shoulder Season = April, May and September
Peak Season = June-August

International Bookings

1 week  Not Available

2 weeks RM3,300 Shoulder RM4,100 Peak

3 weeks RM4,000 Shoulder RM5,000 Peak

4 weeks RM4,700 Shoulder RM5,900 Peak

All fees include return boat transfer, marine park fee, three meals per day, basic fan dormitory with shared bathroom, all activities and RM500 for carbon off-setting.

Shoulder Season = April, May and September
Peak Season = June-August

Fees Breakdown

36%

Project Fees

20%

Marketing

17%

Food

17%

Accommodation

10%

Transport

  • Included in Project Fees are, project staff wages and house rental and maintenance for 12 months, food for staff and interns, boats to tiga ruang, maintenance of nesting beach, research equipment etc

Food

Food in Perhentian is simple Malaysian dishes mixed with some Malaysian styled western foods like Burger Ramli, which are a must!

The volunteer programme package includes all daily meals:

Breakfast – Generally, for breakfast it’s simple toast, fruits or roti canai. (The Malaysian pancake a.k.a the Malaysian Flattened Croissant).

Lunch – Lunch is normally eaten out at local restaurants.

Dinner – Volunteers normally help to cook dinner with our project team and we eat together. Once a week, you will eat a delicious dinner when you go to the home of one of the villagers. This is the time for you to experience authentic Malay cooking and ask as many questions as you’d like.

Accommodation

Volunteers will stay at the Ecoteer’s Volunteer House, which has 3 sections/rooms with a communal toilet/ bathroom. Bedding and mosquito nets are provided. A small safe is available for passport and/or money at Ecoteer House. Safe drinking water and fans also provided.

Other Facilities

Wi-fi internet access is available at the project house. Shops are available in the village to purchase toiletries, snacks, drinks, veg, chicken and fruits. For laundry, hand wash/washing machine is available at the Ecoteer House. Paid laundry services is also available in the village.  

Check out our other projects!

Our Merchandises

You can support the Fuze Ecoteer projects and supported organisations by buying their merchandise.  A minimum of 60% of your fee goes directly towards the conservation cause linked to that product.  The other percentage is used for production costs.

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