Dr. Chan Eng Heng is a professor at University Malaysia Terengganu. She is well-known for her contributions in grassroots marine turtle conservation projects that she has been carrying out for more than 10 years.
In one such project based in Redang Island, funds have been raised since 1993 to purchase eggs from licensed egg collectors for in-situ incubation. This long-term effort has helped save over 350,000 turtle eggs from human consumption, with some 300,000 hatchlings returned to the sea. A breakthrough was achieved in 2004 when the Chief Minister of Terengganu responded to her long-standing appeal to ban the commercial exploitation of turtle eggs in the island and subsequently accorded sanctuary status for major nesting beaches in the state.
In 2004, Chan extended her conservation work to cover the greatly endangered river terrapins of Terengganu. This work will help in the recovery of the depleted terrapin populations of two river systems in the state.
Chan has endeared turtle conservation to the hearts of the Malaysian public through her innovative ”Save our Turtles Outreach Program,” popularly called ”S.T.O.P.” This program involves the public directly in turtle conservation efforts through nest and turtle adoption schemes and a volunteer program.
Chan became a Global 500 Laureate in 2001, a recognition that she said was totally unexpected. She continues in her tireless efforts to save turtles in Malaysia and is confident that with help from the public, local communities, the private sector and government, these efforts will eventually bear fruit.
Chan Eng Heng Turtle Research and Rehabilitation Group Institute of Oceanography (INOS) University Malaysia Terengganu (UMT)