The Cherating Turtle Sanctuary is a turtle conservation centre that was set up by the government to research and protect the four main species of turtles that nest in Malaysia. The four species are the Olive-Ridley, Leatherback, Green, and Hawksbill turtles. These turtles are a vital part of the local marine ecosystem but are endangered due to various threats.
Some of the threats that they face include drift nets from fishing boats and marine predators. The Turtle Sanctuary has a few initiatives aimed at conserving the turtle population including educating the public about these gentle creatures and acting as a hatchery for the eggs.
In the middle of the year from April to September, the turtles land on the beach to lay their eggs. This is when the personnel at the centre collect the eggs to protect and incubate them in the hatchery. When the eggs hatch, the baby turtles are then released back into the sea. The sanctuary is open to the public every day from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. except on Mondays, and entry is free.
Being a nonprofit conservation centre, the sanctuary's main purpose is turtle conservation. During your visit there, you can look at turtle eggs and baby turtles, as well as learn about them. There is a wealth of information about the turtles, specifically about their lifecycle and threats to their population. You can also learn all about the history of the sanctuary, what they do, and their achievements.
The most exciting activity that you can join in Cherating is the turtle release session organised by the hardworking folks of the sanctuary from June to October. The release is done right on the Club Med Beach, so if you're staying with us, we'll be happy to give you more information about it and arrange for you to join in releasing the baby turtles into their natural habitat.
The Turtle Sanctuary began operations as a turtle hatchery way back in 1972, when it was established by the Department of Fisheries. Its purpose was to protect the turtles that came to the Cherating shores to lay their eggs. In 1997, the sanctuary got a big upgrade when a better-equipped operation centre was built on site. This centre aimed to improve the conservation work by making it more systematic.
On 1st June 1998, the Cherating Turtle Sanctuary was officially opened to the public, and it became an instant favourite among turtle researchers and watchers, as well as the general public. The centre continues to protect the turtle population to this day and is a major attraction in Cherating.
The Cherating Turtle Sanctuary is located right on Cherating Beach where a few species of turtles come during the nesting season. It's nearby to various Cherating attractions and hotels including Club Med, making it very accessible to tourists.
Being located on Cherating Beach, which is the centre point of Malaysia's east coast shores, the sanctuary is only a few hours drive from all Peninsular Malaysia cities, including Kuala Lumpur. Besides the Turtle Sanctuary, there are numerous other places to see and things to do in Cherating.
If you've always wanted to see baby turtles up close, don't hesitate to visit the centre. You'll not only learn more about these majestic animals, but might even be able to release the baby turtles into the wild, only at Cherating.