Turtle conservation

Globally, sea turtle numbers have undergone a startling decline with all species now threatened with extinction. This is due to a wide variety of threats, including plastic pollution, irresponsible coastal development, bycatch in the commercial fishing trade, targeted poaching and egg harvesting, boat strikes and poor water quality. We have launched a number of projects aimed at alleviating some of these threats and to work proactively for their conservation.

Turtle Hatchery

The Mabul Turtle Hatchery was launched in 2011 to stop turtle nest exploitation on the island through the implementation of a reward system. Community members are given RM1,000 in return for notifying us of a nesting turtle – much more than they would receive by selling turtle eggs on the black market. Our Honorary Wildlife Wardens ensure a peaceful nesting for the female before carefully relocating the eggs to the safety of our hatchery. The programme has proven very successful with more than 200 nests protected and over 16,000 hatchlings released (as of end 2019).

Honorary Wildlife Wardens

Sea turtles are listed on Appendix I of the Sabah Wildlife Enactment 1997 meaning they are completely protected by law and fall under the remit of the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD). Only SWD Officers and Honorary Wildlife Wardens (HWWs) are permitted to handle turtle eggs, hatchlings and adult turtles. We have 13 trained HWWs working with us to facilitate our sea turtle conservation efforts. Click here to find out more about these local heroes who go above and beyond the call of duty by volunteering  their time and energy to relocate nests and release hatchlings. 

Honorary Wildlife Wardens

Sea turtles are listed on Appendix I of the Sabah Wildlife Enactment 1997 meaning they are completely protected by law and fall under the remit of the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD). Only SWD Officers and Honorary Wildlife Wardens (HWWs) are permitted to handle turtle eggs, hatchlings and adult turtles. We have 13 trained HWWs working with us to facilitate our sea turtle conservation efforts. Click here to find out more about these local heroes who go above and beyond the call of duty by volunteering  their time and energy to relocate nests and release hatchlings. 

Adopt a turtle

Our Mabul Turtle Hatchery programme is funded by our Adopt a Turtle initiative. Guests at Scuba Junkie’s Mabul Beach Resort (SJ MBR) can name a hatchling for a RM100 donation. In return, guests receive a Hatchery t-shirt (sponsored by Scuba Junkie) and an official adoption certificate. 100% of the RM100 donation is used towards paying the community reward for notifying us of the next nesting. If your stay at SJ MBR coincides with a nest hatching then you will have the opportunity to join and witness the release of the hatchlings.

Rehabilitation Centre

The Mabul Turtle Rehabilitation Centre was launched in May 2015 in collaboration with the Sabah Wildlife Department’s (SWD) Wildlife Rescue Unit. The Centre provides facilities that enable the comfortable housing of sick or injured turtles while they receive the necessary treatment and care before being returned to the wild. The Centre is vitally important for protecting our adult turtles and, to date, we have successfully rehabilitated and released 12 green turtles (as of end 2019). We are happy to talk to you about this project, but do not offer tours as animal welfare is our number one priority.

Rehabilitation Centre

The Mabul Turtle Rehabilitation Centre was launched in May 2015 in collaboration with the Sabah Wildlife Department’s (SWD) Wildlife Rescue Unit. The Centre provides facilities that enable the comfortable housing of sick or injured turtles while they receive the necessary treatment and care before being returned to the wild. The Centre is vitally important for protecting our adult turtles and, to date, we have successfully rehabilitated and released 12 green turtles (as of end 2019). We are happy to talk to you about this project, but do not offer tours as animal welfare is our number one priority.

Wildlife Rescue Unit

The SWD’s Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) is the Sabah State government’s veterinary team responsible for rescuing and treating protected species, including sea turtles, Bornean pygmy elephants, orangutans and proboscis monkeys. The Unit is spearheaded by Dr Sen Nathan and consists of a team of vets and rangers. The Mabul Turtle Rehabilitation Centre is run under strict guidance and instructions from their experienced vets.

Marine Research Foundation

Three of the turtles (Champ, Raphael & Trasher) released from the Mabul Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, were satellite tagged as part of a research project carried out in collaboration with the Marine Research Foundation (MRF). The project allowed us to monitor the movements of these turtles after they were reintroduced to the wild. We also work with MRF to provide volunteering opportunities for experienced international vets.

Marine Research Foundation

Three of the turtles (Champ, Raphael & Trasher) released from the Mabul Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, were satellite tagged as part of a research project carried out in collaboration with the Marine Research Foundation (MRF). The project allowed us to monitor the movements of these turtles after they were reintroduced to the wild. We also work with MRF to provide volunteering opportunities for experienced international vets.

Turtle Week

This annual week-long event takes place in May or June with the aim of raising awareness of sea turtle conservation issues and vital funds for their conservation locally. Activities include community outreach days, turtle conservation workshops for local students, reef and beach cleans and a variety of evening awareness presentations with guest speakers, including one of the world’s leading sea turtle experts, Dr Nick Pilcher of the Marine Research Foundation.