KUALA LUMPUR: When it comes to saving wildlife, not many youngsters would go to the lengths of spending money, time and energy to ensure the wellbeing of animals.
But eleven-year-old Ahmad Iszuddin Ahmad Idzham is unlike most children his age.
He has become committed to saving sea leatherback turtles after his science teacher showed him and his classmates a video of the endangered species. He was told that they could become extinct worldwide in just a number of years if little is done to protect them.
“I cried twice watching the video, and all I want to do now is help save them,” he said.
And he is taking a very unique approach to raising money for his cause.
Iszuddin, who learned to cook from his mother, bakes bread and cookies, which he sells at selected functions. Some buyers even call him directly.
So far, the Year Five pupil has earned more than RM200 from the sale of his bread and cookies.
He plans to donate the money to the Turtle Conservation Society in Terengganu and help save the sea creatures.
The youngest of five siblings has the support of his mother, Nor Azlina Ishak, who visited the World Wildlife Fund to find out more about the sea leatherback turtles.
“I was told that the leatherback turtles do not land in Peninsular Malaysia anymore. Once in a blue moon, they might land in Sabah,” said Nor Azlina.
Rantau Abang used to have the largest turtle nesting population in the world, numbering 10,000 a year. The sharp decline in population was due to egg consumption by humans and environmental degradation.
According to the WWF, the leatherback turtle last landed in Terengganu in 1993. It said the reptile, which has been around for more than a hundred million years, is now facing extinction.
In 1980, some 110,000 leatherback turtles were recorded worldwide. But in the last 30 years, the number dwindled to less than 2,000 adult female leatherbacks, making them the world’s most endangered turtle species.
Nor Azlina, who is a certified motivational speaker, said that her businessman husband also supports their son in his passion.
“We will support our son, whatever his interest, as we do not want to miss any part of his life,” she said.
Iszuddin promotes his cookies and bread, as well as shares his message to save the turtles, via his Instagram account: iszuddin_.
“To everyone out there, let’s work together and save these endangered species,” he said. — BERNAMA