In the heart of Terengganu, where the warm sun caresses the turquoise waters of the South China Sea, a group of passionate volunteers embarked on a unique adventure. Their mission? To protect and preserve the rich biodiversity that calls this coastal paradise home. This was the Wildlife Conservation Project 2023 (WCP) by Charisma Movement, an endeavour that transcended the ordinary and delved deep into the wonders of nature. Terengganu, a place of breath-taking beauty, served as the backdrop for this remarkable project. Volunteers travelled to several different locations, including Setiu, Kerteh, and Chukai, each offering a distinct ecosystem to explore. Partnerships with esteemed organisations such as WWF Malaysia, EcoCare Kerteh, and the Turtle Conservation Society amplified the project's impact.
In Setiu, the team embarked on a beach clean-up at Pak Ali Beach, a pristine stretch of coastline marred by human-made debris. Their relentless efforts culminated in the removal of a staggering 120 kilograms of trash. The volunteers then continued with night patrolling, which is an essential part of the mission. Volunteers, guided by experts, ventured into the darkened coastal areas, tracking the movements of marine life. They excavated two turtle nests, carefully extracting the fragile eggs hidden beneath the sand. Their commitment eventually paid off when they found out in the morning that on the very night after the clean-up, a mother turtle nested right on Pak Ali Beach, laying 111 eggs.
EcoCare Kerteh introduced our dedicated volunteers to the intricate world of mangroves and fireflies. Amongst the labyrinthine roots of the mangrove trees, they discovered a delicate ecosystem teeming with life. Alongside the experts, they planted over 20 mangrove shoots to nurture these vital coastal protectors and tried their hand at crafting mudballs, a centuries-old technique to help mangroves thrive. As night fell, they cruised along a local river in the dark to witness an enchanting light show presented by fireflies, appreciating the wonders of Mother Nature in the process.
Lastly, the Turtle Conservation Society provided invaluable insights into terrapin conservation. Volunteers gained a deeper understanding of these elusive creatures and the challenges they face in a rapidly changing world. Notably, they assisted in microchipping river terrapins, which is a crucial step in tracking and protecting these remarkable reptiles.
But the WCP's impact wasn't limited to its ecological achievements. The team visited SK Chukai for a Junior Wildlife Explorers session with enthusiastic Primary 6 students, where the volunteers conducted a knowledge sharing workshop on their lessons gained throughout the past few days. The students’ faces lit up with curiosity and amazement as they listened to our team’s presentations. In fact, instilling a love for the environment in these young minds was an integral part of the project.
What made WCP 2023 truly exceptional was its different approach from previous chapters. It didn't stop at conserving turtles; it was about embracing the diversity of Terengganu's ecosystems. It was about understanding that nature's beauty lies in the intricate tapestry of life. It was about sharing the knowledge gained with the younger generation, igniting a passion for environmental conservation. In the end, WCP 2023 was not just a project; it was a journey of discovery, conservation, and inspiration. It was a testament to the power of individuals coming together to protect the natural world, to ensure that Terengganu's beauty remains for generations to come. This was not the end, but the beginning of a lasting commitment to our planet's well-being. By, Jacqueline Sow, Environmental Project Director, Charisma Movement 22/23