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NO ORDINARY SOULS NO ORDINARY SOULS

By Athira Abas By Athira Abas

A dedicated couple, Liew Hock Chark A dedicated couple, Liew Hock Chark and
and his wife Chan Eng Heng, are trying to his wife Chan Eng Heng, are trying to save
save the sea turtle, one of the world's the sea turtle, one of the world's oldest
oldest creatures. To do this7 they set up creatures. To do this7 they set up the Sea
the Sea Turtle Research Unit or Turtle Research Unit or SEATRU.
SEATRU. SEATRU gathers data on SEATRU gathers data on turtles. SEATRU
turtles. SEATRU projects include projects include research on nesting, egg
research on nesting, egg incubation and satellite tracking1 of turtles. incubation and satellite tracking1 of turtles.

The turtle warriors use two ways to save turtles. First, they arm The turtle warriors use two ways to save turtles. First, they arm
themselves with valuable data which they have collected since 1984. themselves with valuable data which they have collected since 1984.
However, to win the war, they realize that they have to educate the However, to win the war, they realize that they have to educate the
public. So Liew and Chan formed the SEA Turtle Outreach public. So Liew and Chan formed the SEA Turtle Outreach
Programme, STOP, for this purpose. STOP's main job is to raise Programme, STOP, for this purpose. STOP's main job is to raise
funds for activities which promote turtle conservation. These activities funds for activities which promote turtle conservation. These activities
include camps for volunteers, turtle and nest 'adoptions' and fun include camps for volunteers, turtle and nest 'adoptions' and fun
camps for village children on Pulau Redang. camps for village children on Pulau Redang.

Turtles face many threats but the biggest is the collection of their Turtles face many threats but the biggest is the collection of their
eggs. To overcome this danger, SEATRU buys eggs from licensed eggs. To overcome this danger, SEATRU buys eggs from licensed
collectors. The eggs are left untouched in their nests in Chagar collectors. The eggs are left untouched in their nests in Chagar
Hutang, Pulau Redang, Malaysia. This is the major nesting beach of Hutang, Pulau Redang, Malaysia. This is the major nesting beach of
green turtles in Peninsular Malaysia. SEATRU workers and volunteers green turtles in Peninsular Malaysia. SEATRU workers and volunteers
guard the nests until the hatchlings3 emerge and crawl to the sea. guard the nests until the hatchlings3 emerge and crawl to the sea.

The warriors face several problems. 'We need a lot of money to buy The warriors face several problems. 'We need a lot of money to buy
the nests,' says Chan. 'We don't get paid for our SEATRU work. Our the nests,' says Chan. 'We don't get paid for our SEATRU work. Our
income comes from our salaries as lecturers in the University College income comes from our salaries as lecturers in the University College
of Science and Technology. We give a lot of our own time to the of Science and Technology. We give a lot of our own time to the
project. We work most weekends. I don't even have time to do project. We work most weekends. I don't even have time to do
housework,' she admits. 'The authorities have not done enough. housework,' she admits. 'The authorities have not done enough.
Sadly, many villagers do not share our concern,' adds Liew. Sadly, many villagers do not share our concern,' adds Liew.

'We continue to work because we know we can help the turtles 'We continue to work because we know we can help the turtles
recover. We have to be very patient. But there are results. The public recover. We have to be very patient. But there are results. The public
has responded well to our nest adoption campaign. Some older has responded well to our nest adoption campaign. Some older
members in' the village have thanked us for what we are doing. But members in' the village have thanked us for what we are doing. But
most of all, we are inspired by the village children. Some of them have most of all, we are inspired by the village children. Some of them have
voluntarily stopped eating turtle eggs voluntarily stopped eating turtle eggs.