Setiu, 1 June 2015 – iM4U and iM4U.fm, Malaysia’s leading youth volunteer community, in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Malaysia, recently organised a trip to Penarik Beach, Terengganu dubbed ‘Serve2Conserve’ to create awareness towards the importance of turtle conservation and promote Setiu as a ‘voluntourism’ location for tourists to visit as well as engage in volunteer work.

Held in conjunction with the global celebration of World Environment Day (WED) on 5 June, the trip saw over 40 energetic iM4U volunteers cleaning up the beautiful stretch of beach in efforts to ensure the cleanliness of the turtle hatchery. Overlooking the scenic view of Penarik Beach, the volunteers had the opportunity to also replant Mangrove baby trees, among other activities lined up throughout the three-day venture.

The iM4U volunteers helping to clean up Penarik Beach

iM4U volunteers cleaning up Penarik Beach

“Recognising the ecotourism potential of Setiu with its unique wetland features, Server2Conserve aims to further promote public awareness on the significance of conserving the habitat of marine turtles through voluntourism programmes,” said Rudy Malik, the Chief Operating Officer of iM4U.

iM4U volunteers planting baby mangrove trees

iM4U volunteers planting baby mangrove trees in  Setiu wetlands

This initiative aims to inculcate the spirit of volunteerism and teamwork amongst local communities and strengthen the element of voluntourism amongst tourists in our country.

Realising the significant threats towards marine turtles in the country, WWF-Malaysia shared some eye-opening facts on existing marine turtles in the country, namely the species of green turtles and its nesting sites as well as its lifecycle.

“In addition to turtle conservation efforts, WWF-Malaysia also works to protect the mangroves of the Setiu Wetlands, a crucial nursery for marine life. We would like to thank iM4U and MOTAC for building public awareness on the importance of conservation efforts in Setiu. We encourage everyone to visit our website to help protect Setiu Wetlands,” said Yeap Chong Wei, the General Manager of Marketing for WWF-Malaysia.

Baby turtles just hatched at the turtle hatchery in Setiu

Baby turtles just hatched at the turtle hatchery in Setiu

“We are truly thankful to have the participation of these passionate volunteers to promote Setiu as a beautiful location to visit and encourage volunteerism amongst local and foreign tourists,” stated Mohd Sabri Zakaria, Director of MOTAC Terengganu State Office.

Themed ‘Seven Billion Dreams, One Planet, Consume with Care’, this year’s WED focuses on the well-being of humanity, the environment and ultimately depending on the responsible economic management of natural resources on planet Earth.

Activities for the Serve2Conserve, which took place from 29 May until 31 May 2015, were also conducted by one of its partners, Kampung Mangkok Setiu Women’s Society (PEWANIS), whereby PEWANIS shared their expertise in spearheading low-impact ecotourism activities. WWF-Malaysia also engages PEWANIS in executing conservation efforts with the local communities. Other activities include a night patrol session and a visit to the turtle hatchery.

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