I was formally introduced to turtles in my undergraduate studies but I have had a strong affinity towards turtles when I was a little girl.
Upon receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology, I landed myself a job as a Research Assistant in a new river terrapin project on campus, where I learned the ropes of turtle research and conservation. One event led to another, and I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Biodiversity and Conservation. Throughout my Master’s research, I raised more than 800 river terrapins, and determined the best feeding practices to raise these river terrapins in captivity. I have just been awarded a Ph.D. in Zoology in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), the first in Malaysia.
In 2008, I became the first Malaysian to be awarded a 4-month turtle conservation scholarship from the Asian Scholarship Program for in-situ Chelonian Conservation to the United States. Through the scholarship, I had the opportunity to learn about and participate in various turtle research and conservation projects that my hosts were involved in, e.g., at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, Behler Chelonian Center in California, and the Wetlands Institute in New Jersey.
In addition to research and conservation, I also conduct various turtle awareness programmes and participate in fund-raising events and exhibitions.
For my work with the turtles, I have been featured in newspapers, magazines and interviewed by radio stations. I have also been invited to give talks about turtles and conservation, and in 2011, I was given the honour to speak at TEDxKL. I was recently named Malaysia’s Commonwealth Point of Light by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II too.
In 2011, I co-founded Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia (TCS), a non-profit and non-governmental organization dedicated to turtle conservation in Malaysia, where I continue my passion in turtle research and conservation.