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fe­male. Once the nest­ing process is fin­ished and the fe­male has re­turned to the ocean, our trained staff care­fully ex­ca­vate the nest, tak­ing care not to change the ori­en­ta­tion of the eggs, and re­lo­cate them to our hatch­ery. At the hatch­ery, we recre­ate as nat­u­ral a nest as pos­si­ble. The tem­per­a­ture of the nest is very im­por­tant – the piv­otal tem­per­a­ture is 29°C, with lower tem­per­a­tures re­sult­ing in pre­dom­i­nantly male hatch­lings, while higher tem­per­a­tures re­sult in pre­dom­i­nantly fe­male hatch­lings. The com­mu­nity mem­ber is then paid a RM10 per egg re­ward – which is 5–10 times higher than the amount an egg can oth­er­wise be sold for on the black mar­ket. As of the end of 2015, more than 4,500 baby sea tur­tles (both green and hawks­bill) have been suc­cess­fully re­leased on our beach. We have re­cently launched the Adopt a Tur­tle ini­tia­tive to help the hatch­ery be­come self-sus­tain­ing.

The Mabul Beach Re­sort Sea Tur­tle Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre was launched in May 2015, dur­ing Scuba Junkie’s Tur­tle Week.

This cen­tre pro­vides fa­cil­i­ties that en­able the com­fort­able hous­ing of sick or in­jured sea tur­tles, whereby they can re­ceive nec­es­sary treat­ment and care be­fore be­ing re­turned to the wa­ters around the Sem­porna re­gion.

The project has in­volved ex­perts from the very start – rep­tile vets and the Gaya Is­land Tur­tle Re­hab unit, Univer­siti Malaysia Sabah and the Sabah Wildlife De­part­ment.

2014 saw our in­au­gu­ral, an­nual Tur­tle Week – a week of ac­tiv­i­ties aimed at rais­ing aware­ness of sea tur­tle con­ser­va­tion is­sues world­wide and gen­er­at­ing vi­tal funds for their con­ser­va­tion lo­cally. We man­aged to raise a grand to­tal of RM7,500 (USD1,700) for tur­tle con­ser­va­tion!

Co­ral reef con­ser­va­tion

Co­ral reefs cover only about 0.2 per­cent of the world’s ocean floor, yet over 90 per­cent of marine species are ei­ther di­rectly or in­di­rectly de­pen­dent upon them. They not only sup­port enor­mous bio­di­ver­sity, but they are also of im­mense value to mankind. Lat­est es­ti­mates sug­gest co­ral reefs pro­vide close to USD30 bil­lion each year in goods and ser­vices. Co­ral reefs have sur­vived tens of thou­sands of years of nat­u­ral change, but many of them may not be able to sur­vive the havoc brought by mankind: Roughly one-quar­ter of co­ral reefs world­wide are al­ready con­sid­ered dam­aged be­yond re­pair, with an­other two-thirds un­der se­ri­ous threat.

Scuba Junkie is a Reef Check cer­ti­fied dive com­pany with four trained Reef Check in­struc­tors. The course is of­fered as part of our Eco-Di­ve­mas­ter pro­gramme, as well as be­ing of­fered as a stand-alone course for both guests and staff. In the past year, we have com­pleted over 60 reef check sur­veys in col­lab­o­ra­tion with WWF and hope to take this a step fur­ther by an­nounc­ing our in-house Reef Check sur­vey pro­gramme that will mon­i­tor 36 sites an­nu­ally.

We also have an ar­ti­fi­cial reef pro­gramme which aims to es­tab­lish proven co­ral cul­ti­va­tion tech­niques for our lo­cal area. Our mas­ter plan is to re­move the cur­rent ar­ti­fi­cial struc­tures from in front of the SJ jetty and re­place them with struc­tures to which we can at­tach co­ral frag­ments that al­low the devel­op­ment of new nat­u­ral co­ral reef sys­tems.

Even though fish bomb­ing is banned in Sabah, it is still a ma­jor threat. To try to help lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, we have been re­port­ing fish bombs over the past few years. In 2015, we were very hon­oured to as­sist Shotspot­ter in tri­alling new tech­nol­ogy aimed to help mo­bilise an im­me­di­ate re­sponse and to put an end to fish bomb­ing in the area once and for all.

Sup­porter en­gage­ment

Through­out the year, we like to pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for our guests, the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties of both Mabul and Sem­porna, lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional schools and uni­ver­si­ties, and busi­nesses to learn more about con­ser­va­tion is­sues, both lo­cally and glob­ally. We en­deav­our to pro­vide weekly pre­sen­ta­tions on vary­ing top­ics, fundrais­ing pub quizzes and doc­u­men­tary show­ings. We hope that by shar­ing our pas­sion for the marine en­vi­ron­ment we can help to spread the word and make a dif­fer­ence.

Since March 2015 we have been work­ing very closely with a lo­cal com­mu­nity group called Green Sem­porna. What started out as two pas­sion­ate vol­un­teers has now turned into an or­gan­i­sa­tion with over 50 ac­tive vol­un­teers from nine dif­fer­ent school groups in Sem­porna. As well as do­ing amaz­ing work by them­selves, in­clud­ing anti-fish bomb­ing road­shows and con­ser­va­tion pre­sen­ta­tions in lo­cal schools, they are also at the fore­front of our lo­cal com­mu­nity en­gage­ment. In Jan­uary 2016, we were very proud to host the in­au­gu­ral Malaysia Green Lead­er­ship Camp (MyGLC) at our Mabul Beach Re­sort. Dur­ing this event, vol­un­teers learned from ex­pe­ri­enced con­ser­va­tion­ists and de­vel­oped new pro­grammes for Green Sem­porna to drive over the next cou­ple of years.

In 2015, we also signed a part­ner­ship agree­ment with Kolej Ko­mu­niti Sem­porna.

This Kolej trains stu­dents so they are bet­ter equipped to work in the tourism in­dus­try.

Scuba Junkie has of­fered to help in­tro­duce the stu­dents to their lo­cal marine en­vi­ron­ment, en­sur­ing they un­der­stand just how spe­cial the wa­ters of the Sem­porna re­gion are and what they need to do in or­der to pro­tect their oceans. We also of­fer train­ing to stu­dents who wish to pur­sue a ca­reer in the dive in­dus­try.

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