Innovator, Change-maker, Conservationist: The Many Hats Worn by Anuar Abdullah

WeNaturalists names Anuar Abdullah as the winner of the WeNaturalists People of Nature awards 2021 under the Nature Positive Innovation category.

“One person can make a difference” — If there’s a quote that defines Anuar best, it has to be this one.

Founder of Ocean Quest Global and the creator of the Sea Shepherd Dive-Coral Propagation Program, Anuar Abdullah is an oceanographer turned conservationist from Malaysia.

An iconic name in ocean and coral reef conservation, Anuar’s journey has been nothing short of remarkable. Growing up on the east coast of Malaysia, Anuar always shared a close bond with the ocean. It was this closeness to the sea that sparked his curiosity in studying the ocean, which later earned him a scholarship in Oceanography from the Florida Institute of Technology.

After getting his master’s degree, Anuar traveled across the globe. While doing his research, he learned about the massive degradation occurring in the marine ecosystem. It was at this time that he developed an interest in ocean conservation, more specifically, coral conservation.

Dedicating His Life to Coral Reef Conservation

After returning to Malaysia, Anuar started his research to find effective solutions for protecting and reviving coral reefs.

For that, Anuar first looked at the methods others in similar fields were using. He noticed the way people rehabilitated forests and realized that the same method can be applied to corals too. To gain further knowledge, Anuar visited coral farms around his region and studied the techniques they were using to grow coral. He decided to refine those techniques and use them. Through trial and error, he was eventually able to devise an organic and effective method using nothing but rock and glue.

This was revolutionary, as unlike the other methods in use at that time, this one was completely organic. It took the coral only about 7–21 days to grow completely and detach itself from the rock. The method was not only efficient but also cheap as it didn’t need any artificial structures. Using this method, Anuar was able to grow up to 1000 corals in a day.

Anuar’s method was also superior to other ones as the corals revived organically lived longer than the ones grown using artificial structures.

A Shot in the Arm for Marine Ecosystems

Over the span of 14 years, Anuar has worked extensively on revitalizing coral reefs in Southeast Asia, the area with the highest marine biodiversity in the world.

With an aim to expand his ambitions for preserving the marine ecosystem, Anuar founded Ocean Quest, a conservation organization focused on coral reef preservation. In less than a decade, the organization had expanded to multiple countries like Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines. It has over 800 trainers across the world, working on 180 islands, most of them being in Thailand.

As part of their projects, Anuar and his team have built dozens of coral reef nurseries and cleaned up nearby reefs by removing a ton of ghost nets.

With their motto of “diving with purpose”, Anuar and his team are striving to leave a better planet for the next generation through conservation and restoration.

Anuar’s nature-centric upbringing has lessons for all. But most importantly, for future generations.

On Oct 1, WeNaturalists earmarked World People Of Nature Day. On this day, we celebrated Anuar Abdullah, and other People of Nature like him, for their efforts towards creating a green and sustainable future.

As part of the celebration, we hosted a webinar where we discussed Green Childhood — its benefits and the need for it in today’s world, with a panel of experts from different fields of nature. Learn more about it here.




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