October 27 , 2013
Gaya Island Resort (GIR) is located in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in Sabah, Malaysia. YTL Hotels has set up GIRMC as part of YTL Hotels' efforts to build awareness about the marine life of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and on how YTL Hotels can help sustain and promote healthy marine life. The GIRMC – a Turtle Rescue Centre and Marine Sanctuary - cares for and protects the reefs, marine biodiversity and aspects that affect them.
The turtle rescue effort by YTL Hotels is new to Malaysia and GIRMC is the first Turtle Rescue Center in Malaysia. The Centre represented a significant investment and cost approximately RM500,000.
At the Marine Sanctuary, GIRMC employs Scott Mayback, Resident Marine Biologist of GIR who works in collaboration with Dr Nick Pilcher, Director of Marine Research Foundation (MRF), a Sabah-based NGO. Besides leading the guided snorkelling activity for resort guests, Scott Mayback also oversaw the set up of the GIRMC.
In the wild, the number of injured or ill turtles has increased significantly over the years. Turtles eat jellyfish as a main source of protein, leading to them ingesting plastic bags by mistake. Sadly, the waters around the globe are strewn with trash that can be mistaken for food by animals. As the turtles’ food source is depleting, turtles may resort to eating garbage which can lead to serious illness or death.
As the safety of the turtles inhabiting the area is a pressing issue, GIRMC gets involved through the rescue of injured or ill sea turtles. The major highlight of GIRMC is the turtle holding tank where injured turtles that are discovered within the seas around Gaya Island are placed. These turtles are studied, and the cause of injury or illness is determined. They are then treated, nursed back to good health and monitored. After the turtle’s recovery and stabilisation, the turtles will be released back into the wild.
In cases where turtles do not survive, YTL Hotels takes the opportunity to research the cause of death of each turtle by conducting autopsies and dissections which are used to educate guests and local communities. Such research plays an important role in education to avoid the recurrence of such problems. GIRMC also plays host to marine aquariums and touch tanks aimed at educating guests of the resort on the various life forms that inhabit the seas around Gaya Island. We also have established a Turtle Rescue Hotline that anyone can call in case an injured turtle is discovered.
Read more here: http://www.gayaislandresort.com