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Monday October 14, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday October 14, 2013 MYT 7:53:26 AM
VOLUNTEERISM is extremely important in conservation efforts for the hawksbill turtle.
According to Low Min Min of WWF Malacca, volunteers are greatly needed as they provide invaluable manpower in its daily operations which include patrolling the nesting sites and collecting data.
WWF has been on hand since the formation of the Hawksbill Eco-Club in November 2011.
“I’m so happy to see how the club has progressed in these two years. I couldn’t be more proud!” said Low in a telephone interview.
She added that the club was formed with the aim of empowering the villagers, especially the younger generation, with knowledge of eco-tourism which has long-term benefits for everyone involved.
“What we do at WWF is give these young people in Padang Kemunting village ongoing training in eco-tourism, with strict guidelines. In doing so, the club will, in return, be a role model for the local community on how to carry out conservation efforts. They stand to reap financial benefits from it while preserving the environment. It is a win-win situation for everyone involved.”
Without the co-operation of the community, environmentalists, traders and the government, WWF Malaysia’s turtle conservation programme in Malacca would not have reaped the success it enjoys today, said Low.
According to her, Malacca’s coastline saw one of the highest numbers of nestings of hawksbill turtles in 2011, a success story made possible through collaboration between the state government, non-governmental organisations and members of the public. Over 500 nestings were recorded, an achievement comparable to that of Sabah Turtle Island, one of the main nesting sites for the hawksbill turtle in Malaysia.
The inception of the Hawksbill Eco-Club is a part of the Hawksbill Malacca Eco-tourism awareness programme, whereby operators are educated about proper practices when conducting tours, without disturbing the turtles or their habitat.
Low pointed out that the young club is still in the learning stage. It needs continuous support from corporate bodies and members of the public in order to function efficiently.
“We at WWF are giving them training in doing paperwork and soliciting funds from corporate bodies. At the moment, the club members are being paid by WWF, so it would be very nice if they could start earning extra income as a club.
“I’m so happy to know that these youngsters at Eco-Club are putting aside a percentage of the club’s revenue for a special fund for hawksbill turtle conservation.”
> For more details about the Hawksbill Eco-Club, e-mail: email@example.com or go to its Facebook account (facebook.com/HawksbillEcoClub).
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Lifestyle, Hawksbill Eco-Club, WWF, Eco-Club, Volunteerism
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