MIRI: Malaysia must seek a new tourism approach that can focus on saving the dwindling sea turtles population in the country by introducing volunteer tourism programmes.
Senior Research Fellow of the Curtin Sarawak Research Institute (CSRI) at Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak), Dr Lisa Marie King said at the moment
Malaysia is home to four different species of sea turtles -Hawksbills, Leatherbacks, Green and Olive Ridleys.
“Sea turtles have been swimming in the oceans for millions of years but the species is now considered to be endangered due to poaching activities, beachfront development and accidental by-catch.
Many local sea turtle will be extinct unless the egg poaching can be stopped,” she said in
a statement here yesterday.
Elaborating on the volunteer tourism programmes, Dr King said it involves international volunteers who pay for the opportunity to monitor turtle nesting activities, prevent poaching, transfer eggs to hatcheries, release new born baby turtles and conduct community sea turtle education programmes.
In fact, communities around the world often turn from being egg poachers into sea turtle nest protectors once they realise the benefits gained from volunteer tourism,” she said.
She said the proposed volunteer tourism programmes would be a win-win situation as government agencies get assistance they desperately needed to monitor sea turtle nesting activities at key sites, across Malaysia.
She said based on her observation sea turtles in the country lay a lot of eggs but only a few survive to reach adulthood and return to the very same beach they were born on, to lay eggs when they are old enough, as the vast majority of young turtles die shortly after they are born.
“Therefore, every little Malaysian sea turtle is precious to our sea turtle population,” she said.
For more information on the CSRI, visit the www.csri.curtin.edu.my website or call +60 85 443 939 while Dr King can be contacted at +6085 445 039 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.