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Chagar Hutang Turtle Sanctuary

By University Malaysia Terengganu (UMT)

Chagar Hutang Turtle Sanctuary is located at the northern part of Redang Island. It is one of the important nesting beaches in Redang Island, with nesting ranging from 700 to 1500 nests. Peak nesting season is from May to July. This beach is closed to public, only Sea Turtle Research Unit (SEATRU) researchers and volunteers are allowed on the beach.  Since the inception of the Sea Turtle Conservation Project at Chagar Hutang in 1993, SEATRU has released about 300,000 Green turtle hatchlings and 7,000 Hawksbill turtle hatchlings back into the ocean.

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Volunteering Program

SEATRU Volunteer Program was introduced in 1998. It was developed to provide volunteer assistance to the long-term monitoring, tagging and in-situ egg incubation research and conservation project for sea turtles at Chagar Hutang Turtle Sanctuary, Redang Island. This unique program will give you the chance to get up close with the ancient sea turtles (the green and hawksbill turtles) and other wildlife in their natural habitat.

In this program, you will learn how to monitor sea turtle nesting process, how to identify sea turtle species, how to measure and tag sea turtles, how to label sea turtle nest, learn about the natural predators of turtle eggs and hatchlings, and how to determine hatching success of sea turtle nest. You will be guided and supervised by SEATRU Scientists and trained Research Assistants.

The volunteer program runs annually from April to September each year. Slots are of one week duration (Saturdays to Saturdays).

Activities

As a volunteer, you are part of SEATRU team whose mission is to monitor every turtle that lands on the beach to nest, ensure that the turtles nest undisturbed, all nests are protected and hatchling production is maximized. The work involved is very similar to work carried out in many sea turtle conservation programs throughout the world.

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Green turtle hatchlings

Sea turtle nests under incubation at Chagar Hutang. Hatchlings will emerge after about two months of incubation

Green turtle camouflaging her nest to protect it from predators

Green turtle lays multiple clutches in a breeding season

Facilities at Chagar Hutang

The research station was re-built in 2006 by Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. Since then, the quarters have been provided with beds, mattresses & pillows for each volunteer. The station consists of:

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Kitchen, dining area and office

A volunteer complex which is the female quarters with attached toilets and shower-rooms

Male quarters

Longhouse (for camps, indoor activities and housing for the Turtle Gallery)