KOTA KINABALU: Sabah-based non-government organisation, Foster (Friends Of Sea Turtles Education & Research) has secured sponsorship funding from a US-based company for a turtle hatchery construction and beach cleaning initiative on Libaran Island.
Foster president Alexander Yee said what set the sponsorship from AquaGoat Finance apart, was that the RM10,000 funding will be paid using AquaGoat tokens, a next-generation ecological DeFi (decentralised finance) token.
The funding consisted of RM4,000 for the turtle hatchery and RM6,000 for the 500m community beach cleaning programme for the period of a year, he said in a statement on Sunday (June 13).
For the last nine years, Foster has been running a sea turtle protection programme on the island.
Yee who is a conservationist and runs a resort on Libaran Island said he previously self-funded turtle conservation work at the island for six years before the receipts from tourism activities made the work self-sustainable.
“However, the Covid-19 pandemic which resulted in the closure of international borders of Malaysia has resulted in zero visitors to the island since February last year.
“I was not prepared to stop the work on Libaran Island, so I started to source for funds from abroad.
“As mentioned in their website, AquaGoat token is a yield-generating social cryptocurrency which recognises the harmful effects of manmade processes on the oceans and aims to reduce, mitigate and reverse these effects.
“The team of AquaGoat Finance, therefore, sets aside a portion of every transaction fees to an AquaGoat ‘Ocean Blue Fund’ which the team uses to fund ocean cleaning and marine conservation initiatives, ” he elaborated.
AquaGoat Finance charity and outreach coordinator, Jhunehl Fortaleza said this partnership was the first of its kind when it comes to sea turtle hatchery construction, and paying the villagers for beach cleaning using the AquaGoat tokens.
“It is not just good for the sea turtles, but also good in stimulating the economy for the village, ” she added.
Yee added that the new hatchery will be constructed on the village side of the island, and will be aptly named ‘AquaGoat Sea Turtle Hatchery’.
As Malaysia extends its lockdown by two more weeks, he indicated that hatchery construction can only start next month.