Continuing from Gayana Eco Resort The Landscape here are the pictures from the visit to the Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC). Gayana takes pride in its conservation and preservation efforts of marine life and have in its collection of 7 of the 8 Giant Clams of the world among other unique attractions it has to offer. MERC offers research programs with a vision to be pioneers and leaders of eco tourism in Sabah and Malaysia. Programs include Giant Clam Propagation, Coral Replanting and Restoration of Marine Life.
Expansion of MERC in the works to realise its vision to be an international player in the protection of the environment and “provide international customers with an exceptionally high international standard of hospitality and experiences unique to Malaysia in an eco-friendly and sustainable manner”
↓ Coral Replanting (more info)
MERC has implemented a coral planting program to restore areas damaged by destructive fishing practices such as fish bombing and cyanide.
The turtles are a favourite with my family. Curious and graceful by nature, they enjoyed our presence and from time to time surfaced to take a peep when we walked away. Rather unsurprisingly, one could get easily attached to their grace and attention-seeking nature. It’s not everyday you get to interact with these sea creatures within touching distance. In an adjacent tank were a pair of fairly large squids that kept changing their body colour (resembling a coral) for protection against predators.
↓ The Touch Tank where guests caress starfish and other soft sea creatures.
Here a giant clam was brought to the surface very briefly for the TV crew from Radio Television Malaysia.
↓ Boat men with two 5-ft sharks that were spared from becoming a culinary statistic. As a supporter of Saving The Sharks campaign, this was an exciting moment and opportunity to capture (possibly poor choice of word) a live delivery of the sharks to MERC much to the delight of everyone present including the TV crew and my family who witnessed a true “save the shark” moment.
One of the sharks was placed in the same tank as the turtles and that caused some discomfort with a turtle. So much so that the distressed turtle had to be relocated to an adjacent tank. The presence of the shark stirred the otherwise calm waters and trust me when turtles freak out, you want to get away from the tank pronto—my mother-in-law got fairly wet from a couple of splashing.