Commonwealth Point of Light 59. Chen Pelf Nyok
Dr Chen Pelf Nyok, representing Malaysia, is a freshwater turtle researcher who has brought together conservationists, government and her local community in an unprecedented effort to save a group of critically endangered river terrapins.
When Chen’s research uncovered that ‘Southern River Terrapins’ were present in the Kemaman River, she worked with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks and villagers in Kg. Tok Kapor, Kg. Pasir Gajah and Kg. Dadong to initiate a river terrapin research and conservation project. Together they have saved more than 4,500 river terrapin eggs from human consumption, and released more than 2,700 hatchlings into the river. Chen, who is co-founder of the ‘Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia’, also runs ‘Turtle Awareness Programmes’ with primary school students across Malaysia and provides easy to follow, practical advice on how members of the public can get involved in protecting terrapins and turtles, including by picking up rubbish on beaches and not eating their eggs.
Dr Chen Pelf Nyok said:
“I’m very honoured and humbled to be awarded the Commonwealth Points of Light award. I hope that this prestigious recognition could raise the profile of the turtles, particularly the critically endangered freshwater turtles, in Malaysia.”
Vicki Treadell CMG, MVO, British High Commissioner to Malaysia said:
“Dr Chen has done a great deal on the research and conservation of turtles particularly river terrapins. She has also earned respect for educating, motivating and empowering local communities and children to conserve turtles. Her passion and dedication truly embody the spirit of volunteerism. I am pleased that she is made Malaysia’s Commonwealth Point of Light.”
Watch more about the work of the Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia:
The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.Volunteer now