Vol. 1, No.1 May - December 2009SEATRU news Photo credit: Pin ShangSea Turtle Research Unit News and Updates on research and outreach programs2009SEATRU wishes you a Merry Christmas & a fruitful New Year2010!Without realizing it, we are almost at the end of 2009. It was indeed a great Table of Contents:year for SEATRU. In May 2009, SEATRU was handed over to the newteam headed by Dr. Juanita Joseph upon the retirement of Dr Chan Eng Wishes fromHeng from the university. It was quite hard for us at first because we werenot familiar with the activities, and taking over in the middle of the nesting SEATRUseason surely made it more difficult for us. With high hopes and patience,slowly the new team was formed. Indeed, I am very grateful with the new Summary of 2009team. We have fun and the best thing is we have ended the season with Activitiesjoy and laughter! SEATRU GoingThis year we had a total of 405 nestings, of which 385 were green turtle Globalnests and 20 were hawksbill turtle nests. A total of 63 new mothers visitedChagar Hutang. A total of 33,771 eggs were incubated and from these we Insight of 2010have released about 23,223 hatchlings back to the sea. We had a total of315 volunteers that helped us with the conservation work at Chagar th ResearchHutang. We officially closed the field station on 17 October 2009. Highlight for The Year
We would like to take this opportunity, to thank the following for their helpand making it a successful year for SEATRU: Dr. Chan Eng Heng and her team for their marvelous efforts and hard work in developing SEATRU into a world re-known research unit since 1993. 2009 Sea Turtle Volunteers for their kind help in assisting us with the tedious conservation work at Chagar Hutang. We hope the one week experience you have at Chagar Hutang will be the best in your life. Laguna Resort for giving us the unlimited complimentary ferry passes from Merang to Redang Island. Berjaya Redang Resort for their generous help in our research and turtle camps. To all nest/turtle adopters and as well as those who generously donated to SEATRU To Universiti Malaysia Terengganu for supporting our conservation and research work. Last but not least, our sincere thanks to all that involved directly or indirectly in making 2009 a memorable year for SEATRU. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2010! From all of us @ SEATRU Team Leader: Dr. Juanita Joseph SEATRU Consultant: Assoc. Prof. Liew Hock Chark Research Assistant: Yana
UndergraduateWong Shu Kuan Lionel Harith Dom Staff at Chagar HutangFifi Mann Adie
Summary of 2009 SEATRU activities:1. Conservation Project at Chagar Hutang, Pulau Redang:Nesting turtles:A total of 91 green and 4 hawksbill turtles nested in Chagar Hutang, out of which 59 were newly -tagged green turtles and 4 newly - tagged hawksbill turtles. The remaining 32 were remigrant turtlesthat had been tagged and nested in previous years. The table below summarized the 2009 sea turtlenesting at Chagar Hutang. Year First Green Hawksbill Year First Green Hawksbill Tagged Tagged 1994 2 - 2001 2 - 1995 4 - 2002 2 - 1996 2 - 2004 9 - 1997 2 - 2006 2 - 1998 1 - 2008 2 - 1999 3 - 2009 59 4 2000 1 - TOTAL 91 4In-situ eggs incubationA total of 405 nests (385 green turtle nests and 20 hawksbill turtle nests) were deposited in ChagarHutang beach in 2009. When we closed the camp at the end of October, there were 18 nests left tocomplete their incubation on the beach. The analyses of these nests were performed by our workers.HatchlingsGreen TurtleA total of 31,742 green turtle eggs from 367 egg clutches (average of 87 eggs per nest) weredeposited at Chagar Hutang in 2009. From these, a total of 21,894 live hatchlings were produced with67.4% of hatchling emergence success.Hawksbill TurtleThe 4 hawksbills monitored in 2009 produced a total of 20 nests (2,029 eggs), with average numberof eggs per nest was 106. From these a total of 1,329 hatchlings were produced with 61.5% ofemergence success.
2. Sea Turtle Outreach Programi. Sea Turtle Volunteer ProgramThis year, starting from March until October a total of 315 volunteers from 28 slots participated in theVolunteer Program. The majority (70%) of the volunteers were students. Starting from next year, eachslot will consists of 8 volunteers, and the program will be closed at the end of September.ii. Turtle/nest adoptionThis year a total of 12 nests and 3 turtles had been adopted. Our newly appointed Vice chancellor ofUMT, Prof Aziz Bin Deraman had also adopted a nest during his first visit to Chagar Hutang on the th20 August 2009.iii. Turtle campsThe camp, known as Kem Si Penyu by the Redang villagers, is held annually since 1996 by SEATRUto educate the 11-year-old students on sea turtles biology and awareness. rd thThis year, with sponsor from Berjaya Redang Beach Resort, the camp was held from 23 to 25 July2009 for the Year 5 students of Sekolah Kebangsaan Pulau Redang. A total of 40 studentsparticipated in this camp. We divided these kids into two groups (20 students each) and each groupwas brought to Chagar Hutang for two days and one night. The students were exposed to sea turtleconservation and research, watched nesting activities and emergence of hatchlings, and participatedin interactive activities. Facilitators came from the turtle volunteers and MBM3300 (Marine Biodiversityand Conservation) students.
iv. Visits to Chagar HutangStarting from March until August 2009, Chagar Hutang welcomed visitors from fifteen (15)schools/agencies with 849 participants.Table below shows the details of the visits.No. Name of Agencies Date of Visits No. of Participants1 Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Kepong Baru 8th March 2009 882 Program Penghayatan Taman Laut Zon Timur 23rd March 2009 100 Peringkat Kebangsaan Siri 1 20093 Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Perempuan (SMKP, 4th June 2009 40 Pasir Mas)4 Program Penghayatan Taman Laut Zon Timur 22nd June 2009 100 Peringkat Kebangsaan Siri 2 20095 Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Agama Nurul Ittifaq 26th June 2009 806 RTM TV Crew 11th July 2009 97 Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Seri Selayang 26th July 2009 888 Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Seri Payong 3rd August 2009 509 Kelab Nuri 6th August 2009 4010 Team Building Program (Jabatan Pelajaran 6th August 2009 80 Terengganu)11 Zoo Melaka 11th August 2009 512 Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Landas 14th August 2009 11013 Universiti Malaya 18th August 2009 2114 Marine Awareness Program from Redang Pelangi 26th Sept. 2009 35 Resort15 Kerabat Diraja Kedah 3v. Collaboration with Manhattan Fish Market (MFM) Restaurant through the ‘Christmas underthe sea Campaign’In this merry month, SEATRU and the Manhattan Fish Market (MFM) are collaborating to bring youthe ‘Christmas under the Sea’ Campaign.The MFM will be selling Turtle merchandise in the form of a Christmas Pack, which consists of OneLoyalty Card, whereby guests will get a FREE Fish & Chips worth RM15.90 on their third visit; OneFree Fried Country Mushrooms (worth RM9.90) and One Turtle Gift Wrapper, for only RM10.00 perpack as part of the fundraising activity. With this, 50% of the sales will be contributed to SEATRU forour long-term conservation and sea turtle research at Chagar Hutang, Pulau Redang.The launching ceremony for this campaign was held at The Curve, MFM branch on 24 November2009. So head on to the nearest MFM to show your support!
3. ResearchOther than the long-term tagging, nesting and in-situ egg incubation of sea turtles at Chagar Hutang,SEATRU is also conducting other research: Monitoring and determination of sea turtles at feeding ground throughout Malaysian waters using molecular genetics technique (Fundamental Research grant Vot. no. 59133) Effect of incubation methods on crawling performance of green turtle hatchlings (SEATRU 63130) Undergraduate Research 2009 (SEATRU 63130) o Hatch success in in – situ and relocated nest of sea turtles incubated at Chagar Hutang, Redang Island o Nesting activities of sea turtles at Chagar Hutang, Redang Island, Terengganu. o Forensic investigation of sea turtle eggs sold at Pasar Payang, Kuala Terengganu.4. Other Activities th Involved in exhibition during the 7 UMT convocation as an approach to spread sea turtle awareness to public. Students of MBM3300 (Marine Biodiversity and Conservation) also collected signatures for the ongoing ‘Do Not Eat Turtle Eggs Campaign’ organized by the Turtle Conservation Centre (TTC). The first visit by the newly appointed Vice chancellor of UMT, Prof Aziz Bin Deraman to Chagar Hutang on the 20 August 2009. Assoc. Prof. Liew Hock Chark and Uzair were invited to give talks to the participants of the 2009 Marine Awareness Program conducted by Redang Pelangi Resort (24 – 27 September 2009). The participants also visited Chagar Hutang Turtle Sanctuary. Chagar Hutang was chosen for the Earth care program, Episode 11 on TV1. Filming for this program was conducted on 29 & 30 July 2009. The program was aired on 9 December 2009 at 2.30pm (TV1).
SEATRU also accepted one intern student from Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Siti Norlida Bt. Che Draman@Ramly, a student majoring in Conservation Biology. She did her 10 weeks th st internship starting from 25 May to 1 August 2009. SEATRU with the help of Marine Biodiversity Students from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu th conducted a Marine Awareness Program 2009: ‘Voices of the Sea’ on 15 October 2009. The target of this program was the Primary Six students from school around UMT. The main objective of this program is to increase awareness and to promote ocean conservation among school children.SEATRU going global……..This year, SEATRU had gone global. It was indeed a happy moment for us, given the opportunity topresent and introduce SEATRU internationally. Felicity Kuek won the first prize for the Malaysia BAYER 2009 awards on her proposal on the sea turtle volunteer program conducted by SEATRU. Her project was on "Conservation through Education", emphasizing on sea turtle conservation. The three main objectives of this project were: i) to discourage the consumption of turtle eggs; ii) to create awareness on sea turtle conservation, and iii) to encourage sharing of knowledge and experience. She was in Leverkusen, Germany from 8 - 13 November 2009 to present the project she had conducted at Chagar Hutang. Uzair submitted a presentation on the sea turtle project he is currently doing for his master research (Effect of incubation methods on crawling performance of green turtle hatchlings) and was chosen as one of the candidate for the Japanese student exchange program. He will be in Kagoshima University, Japan from 5 - 16 December 2009. Lionel was in the Philippines from 23 - 27 November 2009 attending the East Asia Seas Forum organized by PEMSEA. He presented the conservation activities conducted by SEATRU. Juanita was invited by the French Embassy in Malaysia to present on the sea turtle conservation and research conducted by SEATRU at Redang Island. The conference was held at the National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung, Taiwan from the 25 – 29 November 2009.We are hoping that more opportunities will come for SEATRU next year!
Research Highlight for the year:Poaching of sea turtles at feeding ground around Malaysian waters had become one of theworrying threats for sea turtles. Because of that, in 2008 we came up with a researchproposal to identify sea turtles populations at feeding ground. In 2009, the Ministry of Highereducation had granted a fund to conduct this research. This research aimed to identifyfeeding grounds in Malaysia and to identify the turtle stocks occupying each area usingmolecular DNA techniques. It is hoped by identifying turtles at feeding grounds, we candetermined which breeding populations are affected by commercial fisheries and poachingactivities.To date, first and second samplings were conducted at Redang Island, Tun Sakaran MarineParks and Sipadan Island. A juvenile green and hawksbill turtles were caught at RedangIsland. On the other hand, a total of 69 green and 9 hawksbill turtles were caught during theSabah sampling trip. Blood samples were successfully collected for genetics study. Theturtles were also tagged, measured and examined for any injuries and ectoparasites beforereleasing them to the water. Sampling throughout Redang, Bidong and Perhentian Islandswill be conducted until the end of 2010. The west coast of Sabah and Sarawak will besampled in January to April 2010. Turtles were captured by snorkelling or SCUBA diving. The turtles were measured, tagged and examined for any injuries and ectoparasites before releasing them to the water. Blood samples were collected from the neck.
Insight of 2010:Here at SEATRU we are working hard in making this unit as fantastic as it can be. There willbe so many changes to come. Of course, it will be the best for everyone - to the newSEATRU management team, to our volunteers, to the university, etc. We will be having anew building to replace the old Turtle house (though we have no clues where it going to be,we will refurbish our boat Si Penyu 1 and many other new things added to enhance theconservation and research program conducted by SEATRU.Some insight of the 2010 activities: January: We will start the New Year with our recycle project. The theme will be ‘RECYCLE campaign by SEATRU into a greener UMT’ February: Volunteer Program 2010 is open for registration. Space limited, so hurry up! March: Cleaning and preparing the research station for the 2010 Volunteers April: Chagar Hutang will be opened to volunteers May: Releasing of the head-started green and hawksbill turtles at Chagar Hutang. These turtles are currently at KLCC Aquaria. Two of the hawksbill turtles will be deployed with satellite transmitters. June: Turtle camp (Kem si Penyu) for Year 5 students from SK. Pulau Redang July: Photography competition August: Cycling for the turtles! September: Closing of the field station for the season at Chagar hutang
Acknowledgements:We would like to thank the following parties for their support: All participants of Sea Turtle Volunteers Program (STOP) All nest/turtle adopters and as well as those agencies who generously donated to SEATRU (listed alphabetically): Kelab Borneo. Redang Pelangi Beach Resort Warga UMT Berjaya Redang Beach Resort Laguna Redang Island Resort Terengganu State Government The Manhattan Fish Market
Did you know?We are very fortunate to have Assoc. Prof. Liew Hock Chark as ourconsultant. He was one of the founder of SEATRU. He became theco-project leader from 1993 – 2002. Assoc. Prof. Liew has years ofexperience and an expert in sea turtles research and conservation,and as well as on coral reef biology. He retired from UMT in 2007,however in August 2009 he was offered to serve in UMT as acontract lecturer. With his help and guidance, surely SEATRU will bemoving forward. SEATRU would like to thank Assoc. Prof. Liew forhis help, guidance and advices.