In 2004, she pioneered research and conservation work on the river terrapin (Batagur affinis) and painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) populations in Sungai Setiu.
Upon her retirement from University of Malaysia Terengganu early this year, the marine reptile scientist set up the Turtle Conservation Centre (TCC) to continue efforts to augment the low nesting by restocking the population.
This is done by purchasing terrapin eggs from villagers, incubating them and releasing the hatchlings into the river. Thanks to Chan’s project, which has gained international recognition and financial support, the terrapin population has a chance to recover after decades of egg exploitation by the locals.
So far, 1,777 eggs have been purchased for incubation, representing half of the total number of eggs deposited mostly in Tebing Pasir Penarik, the major nesting bank for the river terrapin.
From these eggs, 1,128 hatchlings (overall hatch rate of 63.5%) have been produced and 500 released into Sungai Setiu. The hatchlings are partly raised in captivity before being released.
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