Research Volunteer

Island Watch Conservation Initiative
March 11, 2019
Pulau Rawa & Pulau Perhentian Besar, Malaysia
Job Type
Closing date


Job Description:


Hayati - founder of LANG TENGAH TURTLE WATCH – established this new project in 2018, located on the small and very beautiful islands within the marine reserve around Pulau Perhentian.

Island Watch Conservation Initiative spent its first season monitoring the nesting turtles present on the island of Pulau Rawa and carrying out initial surveys of the habitat around the island. This research focused on corals, fish, birds, sharks, green turtles - as well as GIS mapping.

In the 2019, our work will continue to monitor marine health and the endangered nesting turtle populations on the island. Our work will also include:

  • Setting up a turtle hatchery, protecting the hatchlings from poaching and predation
  • Coral and fish abundance/diversity surveys
  • Coral propagation and coral nursery planning and installation
  • Black-tip reef shark monitoring using underwater video capture techniques
  • Terrestrial surveys including seabirds, forest birds and lizards
  • Outreach and education with tourists

We accept short term and long term volunteers on the marine project.
We are able to accept:

  • Volunteers who have no experience in field work and those looking to spend time working in marine conservation, as we can train you in our scientific survey techniques.
  • We can accommodate undergraduates and postgraduates looking to gain experience in field work, as the project is in its early stages, there is opportunity for volunteers wishing to take on more responsibilities to help the project establish.

We accept volunteers between 30th March – 10th October. We ask for a minimum stay of 2 weeks, although it is recommended that you join for at least 1 month, to fully explore the islands, learn - and maximize your input into the project.



  • Help on night patrols on a rota basis, monitoring nesting turtles and recording data
  • Aid in the relocation of eggs, helping to run our turtle hatchery, protecting the nests until the hatchlings emerge ready to be released
  •  Provide information to visiting tourists to Pulau Rawa
  • Perform land-based surveys, sometimes during sunrise and sunset hours
  •  Perform coral & shark surveys, while snorkelling.
  •  Camp chores including, shopping, cooking and cleaning on a rota basis
  • Outreach activities including, helping to run our coffee stall, informing tourists of our conservation activities, taking part in beach clean-ups and building relationships with the local community and businesses.



  • An interest in sea turtle and marine conservation
  •  Must be able to swim, as some activities such as coral surveys will be water based
  • Can work as part of a small team
  • Able to live in shared accommodation within a culturally diverse environment
  • Must not get seasick, as we will commute to the project site by boat
  • Relatively fit and acquainted with the rigours of outdoor living (especially on Rawa)
  • Good people skills, as Pulau Rawa is a popular snorkelling destination, so confidence interacting with tourists will be useful

Your time will be split between two project sites:

Camp 1) basic accommodation on the beach at Pulau Rawa, as you carry out research on the island and patrol for nesting turtles.

Camp 2) staying in the grounds of Hayati’s Resthouse on Pulau Perhentian Besar – a property half an hour away by our own wooden slow boat. Here you will have shared accommodation in an open-air living space, with showers, toilets, cooking facilities – and restaurants nearby:

Photos can be seen here, including the open-air accommodation at the Resthouse.

You are free to partake in extra leisure activities, and to experience all that the islands have to offer. These activities include: trekking through the jungle, find secluded snorkelling spots, taking photos, playing games on camp, visiting nearby restaurants and more! There is also the option to go scuba diving on the Perhentian Islands - but this will be for you to arrange and pay for.

The project requires volunteers to contribute to the project to cover running costs, which include:

  • Accomodation (at 2 sites)
  • Food
  • Boat transportation between project sites
  • Training in survey and equipment use

Not included:
Transport to/from the project in Malaysia
Travel Insurance

2 weeks
International $580 USD/ £440 GBP
Local (Malaysian) 1,000 MYR

4 weeks
International $880 USD / £660 GBP
Local (Malaysian) 1,950 MYR

For longer stays
International - add $440 USD / £330 GBP for each additional 2 weeks
Local (Malaysian) - add 950 MYR for each additional 2 weeks.

Please send a cover letter and CV, specifying when you would like to volunteer and how long for. If you are interested/experienced in a particular aspect of the project please mention. Email:

If you wish to know more information on our work, or to read about past volunteer experiences visit our facebook or Instagram


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