Perhentian Turtle Project

Humans are not the only species that regard the Perhentian Islands as a paradise. Long before we discovered the palm-fringed beaches and crystal sea off the East coast of Peninsular Malaysia, green and hawksbill turtles have been using them as a nesting and foraging site. We want a safe and sustainable Perhentian Islands for the sea turtles and other residents (human and non-human). That’s how we came to set-up the Perhentian Turtle Project (PTP) in 2015. 

 
We’re based in two different locations: the village (Kampung Pasir Hantu) on the small island and Tiga Ruang (the nesting beach) on the big island. Between these bases, we’re able to monitor the islands’ sea turtle populations through photographic identification (photo ID) of sea turtles’ facial scale patterns unique to each individual. We collect photos for ID via kayak surveys (in-water foraging population), nightly beach patrols (nesting population), stranding responses (dead or injured individuals), and submissions by stakeholders as well as the public (citizen science programme). In addition, we engage the public through awareness campaigns and beach clean-ups. 
 
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. No conservation work is possible without the people, and we have been blessed with a history of good relationships and mutual respect with the local community for the work that we do. Being a conservationist is hard work and the Perhentian Turtle Project is no exception. But in such a special location, it doesn’t seem like such a burden.
Perhentian Turtle Project Logo
Turtle volunteer conservation project in Perhentian Malaysia

Impact Stats in 2019

Aim

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

Objectives

  • 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)

Internships

If you want a career in marine research or conservation then an internship would be suitable for you. Especially turtle lovers but all marine lovers are welcome






Volunteer

If you want to physically play a part in the conservation of green sea turtles then there is no need to look any further. The Perhentian Islands are paradise islands under and above the water. If you join us then you will help both nesting and foraging turtles as well as help with creating more awareness among the tourists visiting the islands.

Buy Our merchandise

If you want to support the cause but unable to join physically then the best way to support our cause is to buy merchandise where 51% of the fee goes to the project.



Find out more detailed information about PTP below

Photo ID turtle conservation research perhentian malaysia

Research

Photo ID

Photo ID is the use of natural markings/patterns on an animal unique to each individual to distinguish between them. We prefer photo ID to other forms of tagging as it is the least invasive, resourceful, and most public-friendly technique. 
 
For the Perhentian Turtle Project, we monitor the in-water foraging population by first kayaking to our survey site, Teluk Pauh aka Turtle Point, then skin-diving with an underwater camera upon sighting a sea turtle to photograph its left and right facial scales. We do the same for the nesting population except we replace kayaking and skin-diving with night patrols and a red light. In addition, we always make sure to stay at least 2m away from and to photograph the sea turtles as quickly as possible to be less invasive of their space. 

Paper produced

Using Photographic Identification to monitor sea turtle populations at the Perhentian Islands Marine Park

Turtle Strandings

As our work is only based in two locations, we realize we do miss out on sea turtle sightings elsewhere on the islands. Moreover, our limited resources currently prevent us from expanding any further. However, we are able to take advantage of photo ID’s simplicity to engage the public to join our monitoring efforts by submitting any photos of their sea turtle encounters in the Perhentian Islands. With the help of our stakeholders and the public, we’ve not only been able to expand our database, but also discover the movements of certain sea turtles around the islands, all simply through facial photos! To date, our citizen science program has contributed 21% of the total green turtle individuals and almost all 40 hawksbills in our database.

Paper Produced

Identification of a Dead Green Turtle using photographic identification.

Perhentian Eco Education Internship in Malaysia

Outreach and Awareness

Turtle Talks

To reach an audience wider than our own team of staff and volunteers, we reach out to the general public through Turtle Talks – the islands’ stakeholders would host us for 30-minutes to speak to their guests about sea turtles, the importance of conserving them, and how they can help in their own way. Though we already know and relay the same information each time, Turtle Talks are always refreshing as the public engagement helps remind us of why sea turtles are so fascinating!

Citizen Science

As our work is only based in two locations, we realize we do miss out on sea turtle sightings elsewhere on the islands. Moreover, our limited resources currently prevent us from expanding any further. However, as our method only requires photos, we are able to take advantage of photo ID’s simplicity to engage the public to join our monitoring efforts by submitting any photos of their sea turtle encounters in the Perhentian Islands, though preferably those with clear displays of the left and/or right sides of the sea turtle’s face. With the help of divers and snorkelers among our stakeholders and the public, we’ve not only been able to expand our database of individuals and sightings, but also discover the movements of certain sea turtles around the islands, all through simple facial photos! To date, our citizen science program has contributed 21% of the total green turtle individuals and almost all 40 hawksbills in our database.

Support our causes and buy some merchandise

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.

Turtle Adoption

You can adopt one of our turtles in the Perhentian islands.  Through our turtle photo ID database we have identified over 260 turtles that have been seen around the Perhentian Islands.  Support our important conservation and adopt today.

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