Volunteering at Juara Turtle Project, Tioman Island, Malaysia

In July I went to volunteer at the Juara Turtle Project (JTP) on Tioman Island in Malaysia. The project does amazing work in sea turtle conservation. They have 5-7 staff members who stay at the project throughout the season (March to October) as well as volunteers throughout the year. The project does numerous things including relocating turtle eggs to their hatchery, releasing hatchlings into the ocean, beach patrols to look for nesting turtles and turtle eggs, giving turtle talks to tourists to educate them about the conversation project and ways they can help to protect marine life, helping at the animal welfare project nearby, recycling the villages materials and sorting out recycling before shipping it to mainland and so much more! I was lucky enough to take part in these activities and see the enormous difference that the project makes! If you’re interested in volunteering you can find out more by visiting their website https://www.juaraturtleproject.com

This is the gorgeous setting of Juara village on the East coast of Tioman Island, where the turtle project is set.

These two pictures show the relocation process of turtle eggs. We carry out beach patrols to look for turtle eggs, if we find any, we then bring them into the hatchery at JTP to avoid the eggs being poached by humans or eaten by predators. Here we dig to the same depth they were found at to mimic natural conditions. Then we bury the eggs in the same way the mother would. The eggs take 6-8 weeks to hatch and we monitor them in our hatchery.

The volunteers could relocate some of the eggs into the hatchery. You have to be careful not to rotate them as changing the orientation can cause the embryo to detach from the side of the egg.

Myself and another volunteer riding from the turtle project along the toad to the animal welfare project where they look after stray cats and help to neuter them to reduce the stray cat population in Juara.

Our volunteer group on the way back from a beach clean-up. We walked to a nearby beach and collected any rubbish we found. It was appalling to see the amount of rubbish we collected from walking the beach. We split the rubbish into bags of recyclable and non-recyclable items as well as using an app to count the amount of rubbish of each type we collected. We found 515 cigarette butts in one hour on one stretch of beach which was shocking.

Myself and Sarah, one of the gorgeous cats at the animal welfare project. We clean the area, change their litter trays, feed them, play with them and give them lots of attention whilst we’re there. I was in my element as I’m a huge cat lover, so I loved the days we helped at the animal welfare project!

Whilst there I was lucky enough to see turtle hatchlings at 2am! The photos aren’t the best quality as we can only use red light as bright, white lights and flash confuse the turtles. We measure the size of the first 10 turtles, then place them into a container and release them straight into the ocean. It was amazing to see the 112 turtle hatchlings walking into the ocean! One of my highlights of the trip.

Myself and my room mates from the project.

Myself, the volunteers, staff members and the JTP cats!

Categories: Asia, Go Abroad Fund, Malaysia

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