Date: 4th September 2017
By: Adrian David
Source: New Straits Times

Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia volunteer Tan Yuan Ying (left) and its co-founder Chen Pelf Nyok promoting turtle conservation-awareness merchandise at the Terengganu Peranakan Festival in Kampung Cina, Kuala Terengganu. Pic by NSTP/ Adrian David

KUALA TERENGGANU: Each year, thousands of turtle eggs are saved, while its hatchlings make it into the Terengganu’s rivers.

All these was possible through the efforts of women like Chen Pelf Nyok and Tan Yuan Ying from the Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia.

Pelf Nyok, the co-founder of the society, said the public too can help out by initiating greater awareness and take part in conservation efforts to preserve the existence of the terrapins.

She said the society’s 13 years of concerted efforts, campaigns, research, conservation, education and eco-tourism in Terengganu were begining to bear fruit.

“Between 2011 and last year, we saved 2,491 turtle eggs and released 1,302 hatchlings into the Setiu River. Between 2004 and 2014, we saved another 3,754 eggs and released 2,401 hatchlings into the Kemaman River.

“During this 13-year period, we have organised 40 turtle camps in the state which benefitted at least 2,000 students, mainly from local universities.

“We also organised various awareness programmes like the annual Raptor Watch, wildlife exhibitions, World Turtle Day celebrations and annual terrapin releases in Setiu and Kemaman,” she said.

The preservation efforts of terrapins received greater awareness through Pelf Nyok and society volunteer Yuan Ying when they showcased their concerns during the Terengganu Peranakan Festival recently.

On Sept 30, she said the society will undertake the annual terrapin release from its 440 three-month-old river terrapins hatchery, into Sungai Kemaman.

“The society is now actively involved in the ‘Turtle Discovery Trip’, where participants are taken on a journey to learn about the turtles and terrapins of Malaysia.

“They can get up close with these critically endangered turtles through the programme that started in 2012.

“So far, we have conducted 39 trips and taken more than 600 guests, including school groups,” she said.

Yuan Ying, who is Yayasan AFS Antarabangsa Malaysia Terengganu Chapter vice-president II, also does freelance linguistics and customer services.

She joined the Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia as a volunteer in 2011.

To help save the terrapins, Yuan Ying advised the public to avoid purchasing or consuming turtle eggs, disturbing the turtles at sea or beaches and buying souvenirs made from turtle shells.

“Additionally, you can help conserve turtles by not dumping plastic bags into the sea or at beaches; adopting a terrapin or turtle; and volunteering in conservation efforts.” said Yuan Ying.