21 May 2012

Releasing Terrapins and Turtle Hatchlings-Kemaman

Last year, we went for two awesome Turtle related trips.
1) The first was a trip where we helped to measure and tag terrapins (read post here).
 2) The second was a field trip to Terengganu (turtle alley and museum) and Kemaman (turtle watching, where we saw 3 turtles lay their eggs that night.) (read post here).

These trips were unforgettable, and my children begged several times to go back. So when we found out that Turtle Conservation Centre, Malaysia(TCS)  was going to release about 200 river terrapin hatchlings into the Kemaman River, we decided on a return trip. It was a beautiful trip, just like the previous ones.

We first met up with Pelf Nyok, co-founder of TCS at the Cherating Turtle Sanctuary, where she was giving an educational tour about turtles. We then headed towards the terrapin conservation site.

Terrapin hatchery. Because terrapins do not lay as many eggs as turtles,  conservation efforts are very important to ensure the survival of river terrapins.

These terrapins are so fortunate, coz with the help of TCS, they are able to survive. This little fella in the middle was checking us out, and I think, excitedly waiting for release back into its natural habitat.

Nel had two hatchlings in her hands. She was holding them up for other tourists to see.

See the little white bit protruding near the nose? That's the egg tooth which is used to break through the egg shell when hatching.

A picture of Pelf who conducts the tour group on turtles and terrapins. She talked about her research work on terrapins, and provided lots of interesting information. This was followed by yummy food, lovingly cooked by Wazir's family.

Later they transported the terrapin hatchlings to the Kemaman River. A large group of local people came to join this event, and it was really like a happy celebration! Well, I just found out it was in conjunction with   World Turtle Day! :)

The local children have got their hatchlings and are ready to let them go. :) Jo and Nel have got theirs too.

While waiting, children dug a little pool and put their hatchlings there first. There's no better way for a child to learn about conservation then to come face to face with the creatures that need protection. I know, coz I see how passionately my children talk about conservation to their cousins. :)

Everyone got into a row, ready to release the hatchlings.

Nel's hatchling's first taste of freedom....it moved towards the river by instinct

Poked it's head into the water

Circled a little in the slightly murky water...

and then went under....weeeee..... :)

Most hatchlings poked their head up after a while for a short breath, before they were swept away by the current of the flowing river.

 This is Wazir who looks after the terrapin hatchery 

 At night, we met up with Pelf and the group at Teluk Mak Nik, where Pelf talked about turtles, providing us with lots of interesting information. For instance, how many fathers does it take to help produce the 100 eggs? Well...to find out, join one of Pelf's trips. :)  :)

 Turtle Hatchlings were provided by Pak Su who is a well known tour guide for turtle watching.
Jo released this hatchling, just 2 hours old.  Here it's finding its way to the ocean, guided by the light. Hope it makes its way safely in that wide ocean. Be safe baby hatchling. :)

 We watched the turtle lay her eggs. (For videos, please click on my other post)

This is the mama turtle we watched last night. She is so beautiful. When you go turtle watching, respect the privacy of the turtle. Too many people used flash photography. Please, refrain from using flash at the turtle. You wouldn't want flash in your face either, especially when your eyes have grown accustomed to the dark night.

Well....if you're interested in joining one of Pelf's tour, you can sign up HERE . We certainly learnt a lot from the trip. You can also help their conservation project by liking their facebook page TCS Facebook,  or purchase a copy of the book Little Turtle Messenger (a book my children love) and do help spread the word around so that people are aware of the need for conservation. Yeah, help save the turtles and terrapins. :)

Read further about the World Turtle Celebration Day (Written by Pelf)  on TCS's webpage here.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2012


pelf said...

Thank you, Martha, for this elaborate and lovely post. Thank you also for helping promote TCS and the guided trips that we are currently offering.

P/S: I am looking at IMG_7173, and am I seeing correctly that a part of the terrapin shell is damaged or something? When did this happen?

Martha said...

hi Pelf, let me send you picture. No shell is not damaged, a leaf floated onto the terrapin as it swam out. I think you're seeing the leaf?

pelf said...

Oh yes, yes. Optical illusion! I am so relieved now :D

BTW, I have linked to this blog post from the TCS article I wrote :D

marie said...

What a fun adventure for you and your girls. My kids of course would love this, my oldest especially loves reptiles. And the egg tooth, cool.

Divoo said...

heard about the egg tooth for the first time, Martha! another great trip and learning for the kids... thanks for sharing all the knowledge with us! :)

Steph said...

Wow! Your account of your adventure and your photos are amazing.

The Adventurer said...

OOH my kids would love doing this. We are very big into nature and wildlife. Thanks for sharing, I showed this post to my children who now want to find a turtle rescue facility near us:) Thanks for linking up to the Field trip hop

Martha said...

I enjoyed sharing this. :) hope you all get a chance to experience this on your own n spread the word on conservation :)

Carolyn (Lil' Dahling) said...

Thanks for sharing this. Was just about to ask how to join this trip in the future..:) It looks interesting!

feichai said...

Lovely! Nice meetin ya and family today. Truth be told, I've been an email subscriber since Mar16 cause your activities and the stuff you do are so off the beaten track and it was not until May that I started forwarding your post to my wife. Truly amazing! And now finally putting a face to this blog - truly priceless. Keep up the great stuff you do with your lovely dotters.

Martha said...

hi...now I know your nickname! Great meeting up too! And all the best as you consider the parenting/education journey you'll take! :)

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