KUALA LUMPUR: Three years ago, Ahmad Iszuddin Ahmad Izham, then 11, made a video for his science class detailing how sea turtles are facing global extinction.
Two years later, the 13-year-old’s passion to save the species saw him forming a non-profit group, Save Sea Animals From Extinction (Safe).
His bid to see sea turtles taken off the endangered species list has scaled greater heights with the teenager winning the Tuanku Bainun Young Changemakers Award 2019 (for the 13-15 years old individual category) for his efforts to conserve the environment and save the sea creatures.
Iszuddin said he first began making videos to raise awareness on how sea turtles were facing extinction.
However, his videos did not garner many views on YouTube.
His mother, Nor Azlina Ishak, then suggested that he sell cookies instead to raise funds for his cause.
“I began selling cookies at bazaars to raise funds for turtle hatcheries and beach-cleaning activities,” he said, adding that he and his friends from Safe would take up spots at bazaars every two months for the purpose.
“Other than cookies, we also sell reusable metal straws, T-shirts and calendars,” said Iszuddin, who authored a recipe book titled, In the Kitchen with Iszuddin.
Over three years, Iszuddin raised RM6,230. The sum was donated to the Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia, Walai Penyu Conservation Park in Sandakan, Sabah, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu’s sea turtle research unit in Kuala Nerus, the Ara Dinawan Research and Conservation Centre in Sabah and Turtle Hut in Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan.
“I have baked more than 20,000 cookies since I started this project and sold about 400 copies of my recipe book,” he said.
His efforts to preserve the environment have not gone unnoticed. Yesterday, Iszuddin was praised by Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah in the latter’s speech at the launch of the book, 40 Hadis Pelestarian Alam Sekitar, authored by Professor Datuk Seri Dr Zaini Ujang and Professor Datuk Dr Zulkifli Mohd Yusoff.
Sultan Nazrin lauded Iszuddin’s dedication towards conserving the environment and saving sea turtles.
Iszuddin said he did not expect to win the award.
“I was shocked when I was announced the winner. I was so happy that I could not stop smiling for hours,”
On his next move, Iszuddin said he was looking forward to a trip to Pulau Dinawan in Sabah next month.
“I will visit a turtle hatchery and do some beach cleaning. That’s going to be fun.”
As long as people indiscriminately dispose of rubbish into the ocean, Iszuddin said, marine life would remain in danger.
“But imagine the impact if each of us dispose of our rubbish responsibly. We will get to enjoy a healthier environment and cleaner oceans.
“Our country can be an example to others and they too, will be inspired to do the right thing,” said Iszuddin.
Iszuddin’s journey on his conservation efforts can be viewed via his Save Sea Animals From Extinction Facebook page.