PETALING JAYA: Moved by a video he once saw in a science class that depicted how leatherback turtles were becoming extinct, 11-year-old Ahmad Iszuddin Ahmad Izham initiated his own non-profit group, Save Sea Animals From Extinction (SAFE), to help save the species.
Today, Iszuddin has set up a booth at the Easy Like Sunday Morning Bazaar at the Armada Hotel to raise funds through the sale of cookies, recipe books, T-shirts and other merchandise for the Walai Penyu Conservation Park, Sabah.
“I cried after watching the video that was shown in my science class. I decided that I want to help save these turtles from being extinct.
“At first, I made videos about turtles and their habitats, and posted them on YouTube but they didn’t get many views. My mother then gave me the simplest idea, sell cookies,” said Iszuddin who is a student of SK Bukit Damansara.
Iszuddin, who learned to bake from his mother, Nor Azlina Ishak, started selling various types of cookies in school and during various functions. In earlier fundraising efforts, he managed to raise RM2,650 and the fund was donated to four turtle sanctuaries located in Terengganu, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan and Sabah.
“The money may not be a lot but I believe every cent counts especially when the conservation centres are operating on their own without help from the government and do not have enough funds to carry out conservation activities.
“That is why I wanted to raise money for them. The fund can be used to do more clean-up activities on beaches, to buy more nets for nestling, and to take better care of the turtle eggs,” said Iszuddin who has baked 15,000 cookies and sold over 100 recipe books to date.
At today’s bazaar, Iszuddin handed a cheque of RM270 to conservationist and Friends of the Sea Turtles Education and Research (Foster) president Alexander Yee.
Alexander who manages the Walai Penyu Conservation Park said he was touched by Iszuddin’s commitment and effort to help the sea turtles.
“That is very noble of Iszuddin and I am very happy to see a boy his age having developed the awareness to save endangered species like the sea turtles.
“Actually, I came to Kuala Lumpur for another event but when Iszuddin’s mother texted me that he wanted to contribute proceeds from his cookie sales, I told her that I would come to the bazaar today and meet Iszuddin in person.
“I hope he continues his effort and hope that others, especially the young, follow his footsteps,” he said.
“My message to people is stop littering and stop eating turtle eggs,” said Iszuddin whose conservation efforts can be viewed via his Save Sea Animals From Extinction Instagram and Facebook pages.