Wildlife conservation, community and environmental volunteer projects and internships worldwide

Sea Turtle and Coral Conservation in Malaysia

Organisation: Eloisia

Country: Malaysia

Type: Environment & Wildlife Conservation

Sea Turtle and Coral Conservation in Malaysia

Island Watch Conservation Initiative (IWCI) focuses primarily on the island of Rawa – which is a completely uninhabited island with a nesting green turtle population located within the marine reserve around Pulau Perhentian, Malaysia.

This is one of the few islands around the Perhentians with an undeveloped beach suitable for sea turtle nesting. We are based in the state of Terengganu, which is the biggest market hub for sea turtle eggs in Malaysia, and home to a lot of the local nesting sites which are prone to poaching activities. Hayati – the founder of Lang Tengah Turtle Watch – established IWCI in 2018, hoping to spread conservation efforts to Pulau Rawa.

Last year, during the April – October nesting season on the island, we observed 4 nesting green turtles. Aside from our primary goal of protecting the eggs, we also conducted marine and terrestrial surveys as a preliminary insight into the Pulau Rawa ecosystem. This research focused on species identification and presence & abundance surveys of corals, fish, birds, sharks, green turtles – as well as GIS mapping. To see the work we have been doing please visit:  www.facebook.com/islandwatchconservationinitiatives

In 2019, our main aims are to safeguard the eggs and nesting sea turtles on Pulau Rawa. We will monitor the beach at Pulau Rawa every night and collect vital data during each nesting event (egg counts, nesting locations, nesting duration & frequency, carapace measurements, photo ID).

We will also conduct marine and terrestrial surveys to understand species presence & abundance as well as begin to understand stressors/ mitigate threats to the coral reef around the island. Our work for the 2019 season includes, but is not limited to:

  • Turtle monitoring
  • Drupella Sp. removal
  • Coral and fish abundance/diversity surveys
  • Black-tip reef shark monitoring
  • Terrestrial surveys (lizards/ birds)
  • Tourist and resource management

There are still areas of the island that are un-surveyed, and we can explore those sites together as a team.

Living Situation: You will spend your time between 2 sites.  Base camp (Perhentian Besar– located on the grounds of The Resthouse): 2-4 days Open air shelter, beds- mattresses & mosquito nets, running water (shower/toilet), outdoor kitchen Access to local resort restaurants/ shops

Free time: Snorkel, dive, hike, explore Perhentian Besar/ Kecil, rest Data entry/ photo ID Once a week beach clean Some outreach activities Pulau Rawa: 3-5 days Hut, camp bed, mosquito nets, no running water, one camp stove, cooking supplies/ food Night: Monitor nesting turtles on a rota system Day: Marine & terrestrial surveys, snorkel, rest, outreach w/ tourists snorkeling POSSIBLE chance to help release sea turtle hatchlings if the timing is right (this does not involve handling sea turtle hatchlings)

Camp Maintenance: Changes every week to share the roles Cooking rota (cooking lunch/ dinner) Cleaning rota (washing dishes, sorting recycling/rubbish, sweeping, etc.) Food shopping rota (once a week, 1 hour boat trip to/from the mainland to resupply)

Volunteer Criteria: Required skills: Swimming, snorkelling, able to live/ work in shared spaces with basic facilities in a tropical climate (hot, humid, in contact with insects/animals), flexibility to work in an international setting, good people skills, able to work with a team and independently, not easily sea sick No previous experience is necessary (but welcomed!)- training on survey collection methods is provided

Dates/ Commitment: We have limited spaces available between: 1st July – 31st August  Minimum 2 weeks Recommended stay 1 month (to explore the islands/ maximize your input into the project & skills gained)

Program Contributions:  2 weeks International $330 USD/ £250 GBP Local (Malaysian)  600 MYR 4 weeks International $600 USD/ £450 GBP Local (Malaysian) 1050 MYR For longer stays International  – add $260 USD / £200 GBP for each additional 2 weeks Local (Malaysian)  – add 500 MYR for each additional 2 weeks. You will need to cover their own transport to and from Perhentian Besar, Malaysia.

Notes: We CANNOT assist with visas – tourist visas for entrants from most countries are given on arrival for a 90-day stay You need your own travel insurance — this project is not under the umbrella of Lang Tengah Turtle Watch at this stage.  To join us, please provide your available dates & a letter of interest in an email

We are a small organisation, and we can only accommodate 2-3 volunteers at a time, so please apply early to confirm your place this season.

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