The sea turtles had stopped laying on the beaches of Sungai Pinang and it became clear that, principally, human behaviour was responsible. On the nesting beaches of neighbouring islands the nests are not only endangered by poaching; they can be destroyed, and the eggs devoured, by over–populations of wild pigs and monitor lizards.
Sea turtle mothers lay hundreds of eggs every two to four years. It is estimated that, after 45 to 60 days incubation, the life expectancy of the young sea turtles is very low; projected that 1-2% of the laid eggs can survive. From 1,000 sea turtle hatchlings, only one will survive to maturity.
This one turtle lives in an ocean amassed with debris of all kinds; fishing nets, off cuts from boat building, sewage and mountainous volumes of plastics.
Sea turtle numbers are generally the result of counting nests on beaches, but this doesn’t provide an accurate picture of the whole sea turtle population. Due to the inaccessibility and distances between nesting beaches the analogous data recorded by Sumatran Sea Turtle Conservation contributes to national and international research; particularly in gathering statistics of turtles affected by ocean pollution.
There is no government funded waste disposal infrastructure in the village of Sungai Pinang. Traditionally, most rubbish is burned or drifts out to sea, or paradoxically, washes in with the tide. The increase of plastics has undeservedly overwhelmed this small remote village so that Sumatran Sea Turtle Conservation’s Recycling and Clean-Up the Beaches Programmes, although challenging, have been embraced by the majority of people in Sungai Pinang.
These regular programmes involve the children in the Education Programme, the tourists who visit and the local community. This is repetitive work but we have already seen noteworthy environmental changes in the village e.g. a decrease in rubbish disposal into the ocean and an increase in numbers of villagers involved in clean up days.
Coral and mangrove rehabilitation are expensive programmes to operate and currently rely on the involvement of the Eco–Volunteer Programme.
Sumatran Sea Turtle Conservation established a daily free educational programme of environmental awareness, English language and confidence building for the children of Sungai Pinang. There is no high school in Sungai Pinang and many children miss out on further education. Because there is a distinction between the educational opportunities of children in the cities and children in rural areas this dedicated programme contributes significantly to the future lives of the children of Sungai Pinang. But as much as it offers personal opportunity to the children, Sumatran Sea Turtle Conservation also believes we are raising a new generation of conservationists.
The children of our village love to share their time with people from other parts of the world. Visitors who comply with our Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct may be invited to participate in the education programme. Our children are precious to us and visitors will not be left alone with them. Any visitors who do not meet our standards will be asked to leave.
For travellers with a passion for marine conservation and the betterment of the planet
In collaboration with Authentic Sumatra we offer the opportunity to volunteer with Sumatran Sea Turtle Conservation and take part in a variety of different sea turtle conservation related projects. We are happy to discuss each area of work with you and are open to your suggestions. We welcome research ideas and believe connecting with others in this way will have far reaching benefits for our organisation.
All funds from the Eco-Volunteer Programme support the activities of the Sumatran sea Turtle Conservation.
Sumatran Sea Turtle Conservation has a Child Protection Policy and you will be expected to sign a Child Protection Code of Conduct before you commence your volunteer work with us.
If you think this programme is for you please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.