It’s been a really busy couple of weeks here at TJ. We’ve been up at all hours watching nesting mums, checking the hatcheries and relocating eggs. I’m barely getting time to sleep properly let alone do anything else, but today is my off day so I’m finally getting a chance to write on my blog. Since I’m pressed for time, here are just some of the highlights from the last couple of weeks!
Group Off Day
A few weeks ago I had my first monthly group off day, where LTTW closes for a day so we can all do something fun as a team. We decided to go to Chemerang Waterfall, about an hour and a half away. It was so nice to get away from the resort for a while and out into a more natural area. We did a short hike and then hung out in the river which was really nice.
Conference in Kuala Terrenganu
I was lucky enough to get to travel with two of the staff to Kuala Terrenganu to see Dr. Mohd Uzair Rusli from the Sea Turtle Research Unit UMT give a presentation on sea turtle hatchery management. It was a really fascinating talk and gave us all a lot to think about in terms of how we run the hatcheries here. There were a few other speakers too, including Dr Melissa, who gave an absolutely hysterical presentation on freshwater fish – that woman missed her calling, she should be a comedian!
On the 14th of April I saw my very first green sea turtle mother nesting on Tahu Tiga Beach! It was so exciting to finally see the animal I’ve been working so hard to help. Since this mother, I’ve seen about five more. After they have finished laying, we move in to dig up the eggs and relocate them into our hatcheries. Unfortunately I’ve not managed to get any photos of this yet since we can only use red light, but hopefully I’ll have one for you soon.
This was my highlight of the trip so far. I was doing one of our routine nest checks on a clutch that had been incubating for 47 days. As I was digging through the sand to the eggs, a little head appeared! Two baby turtles had hatched early. I felt so lucky to be the one to find the very first hatchlings of the season. A few days later we had an official release with guests at the resort. We gave them a short presentation about LTTW, and then walked a couple of hundred metres down the beach away from the lights of the resort. There we had built a little runway for the 37 hatched turtles to make their way to sea. It was fantastic seeing how excited and engaged the guests were during the event, and we ended up with several new nest adoptions afterwards.
Nest Checks and Post Hatch Inspections
Since the season is progressing we’ve had a lot more nest checks which are really good fun. It’s really nice to see people so interested in the process. Unless there’s a hatchling, we remove five eggs and assess their health, then return them to the nest. We’ve also now had our first post hatch inspection, where we dig up the whole nest after the hatchling release and look and what went wrong with any unhatched eggs so we can keep improving the way we run our program.
A Malay Wedding
You can see from what I’m wearing in these photos that I certainly didn’t expect to be invited to a wedding while in Malaysia! Big congratulations to Lin, who helped build our research hatchery, and his new wife Kita!
Today I finally decided to go on the mysterious ‘Jara Hill’ walk, the sign for which we walk past on our way to work everyday. The resort describes it as a hike, which is a serious stretch of the imagination, but nonetheless it was nice to be surrounded by trees in a bit more of a jungle area.
Educating Cute Kids
I really love when children come to visit me at the hut, especially since I miss tutoring my students back home. It’s so nice to see the younger generation interested in conservation. These two boys even gave a mini-turtle talk to another tourist who came up to us!
Next week I’m off to another island for my mid-contract break so hopefully I’ll be able to write again then.
I’ll leave you with a casual reminder that you can still donate to help me adopt a nest at my GoFundMe page if you like. Thank you very much to those of you who have already contributed. In case you missed it, my previous post explains all of the details. Any donation is very much appreciated as it is shaping up to be a very busy nesting season!