The best days of my internship with TCS

Written by Amal Azuha

Amal is currently studying Veterinary Medicine in Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK). She joined TCS in a 1-month internship, and the highlight of her internship was the nights she had spent at the riverbank waiting for female terrapins to emerge to nest.

11 Jun 2020

I am very fortunate to be given the opportunity to be a part of TCS as a volunteer. At first, I thought that I might not be selected because I know there must be a lot of other people who applied as well. I have conducted some research regarding TCS and discovered a lot of interesting activities that they are conducting, for example, camping at the riverbank, microchipping terrapins, conducting turtle camps and many others. I am totally exhilarated and cannot wait to learn more about these turtles. Through this internship, I hope to meet and make new similar-minded friends.

All of the activities that were conducted during my internship were not only enjoyable but also educational.

Together with other two interns, Sarah and Asma, I went to TCS’ Terrapin Conservation Centre in Kg. Pasir Gajah, Kemaman. There were many terrapins in a large head-starting pond. There, we learned to read the terrapins ID based on the marking on their scutes; we also learned to measure and weigh these terrapins.

TCS also has a community empowerment programme where they work with the local women to produce various batik-inspired merchandise such as tote bags, drawstring bags, batu seremban and travel pouches. I found this initiative very inspiring because we can now purchase these merchandise and at the same time financially support the womenfolk in the community. One of my favourite products is the drawstring bag, as it is durable, spacious (can hold a lot of essential items) and pretty. The bag comes with a zip pocket at the back to secure valuables and would allow easy access for smaller items such as car keys.

The highlight on my internship was definitely the week-long camping at the riverbank, as part of the Kemaman river terrapin conservation project. Among the activities that I was involved in includes basic data collection and recording, inserting a microchip into the female terrapin for identification purposes, and incubating the terrapin eggs in the ex-situ hatchery. At the riverbank, it was pitch dark but we were accompanied by starlight and the chilly breeze. In our first few nights, we did not encounter any female terrapins, possibly due to the unfavourable weather conditions. On our fourth night, we observes several terrapin tracks but unfortunately, they did not emerge to nest. On our final night, I was over the moon as we finally spotted a female terrapin making her appearance. Luck was really on our side as not everyone could stand a chance to see the female terrapins, but my friends and I fortunately did.

In conclusion, I am truly grateful to be given this golden opportunity and I do hope to participate in this kind of activity again in the future.

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