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Turtles have been on the earth for more than 200 million years. They evolved before mammals, birds, crocodiles, snakes, and even lizards.


Turtle Conservation in Ma' Daerah View Amazing Video Below

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beach madaerah

In a little known haven in Terengganu, with 1.7 km of beach and 70 hectares of flat sandy plains is Ma’ Daerah. This turtle rookery is tucked away in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia between the towns of Kerteh and Paka. The Ma’ Daerah Turtle Sanctuary, in the district of Kemaman, lies within the Paka-Kerteh rookery and has always been an important turtle nesting beach for all four species of marine turtles found in Malaysia.

However, due to rampant coastal development within the past 30 years, the number of nesting turtles within the rookery have reduced significantly. Ma' Daerah's existence as a turtle nesting haven is now critical.

In June 1999, the Department of Fisheries Malaysia, BP and WWF-Malaysia decided to turn Ma’ Daerah into a model turtle conservation centre in Malaysia. Apart from turtle hatchery management and monitoring of nesting females, other activities at this haven for turtle nesting include education and awareness especially for the local schoolchildren and community. This was made possible with annual funding provided by BP and NOKIA.


School children from Kerteh and the surrounding areas enjoy regular education and awareness activities as well as Kids’ Camps. These activities were later widened to include the local community living within the nearby Paka, Kerteh and Kemasek areas. Ma’ Daerah beach will be gazetted as a turtle sanctuary, while the surrounding Bukit Labohan has been proposed as a State park.

Facts of Turtle

  • The earliest turtles had teeth and could not retract their heads, but other than this, modern turtles are very similar to their original ancestors.

  • Several species of turtles can live to be over a hundred years of age including the American Box Turtle.

  • One documented case of longevity involves an adult Indian Ocean Giant Tortoise that when captured as an adult was estimated to be fifty years old. It then lived another 152 years in captivity.

  • Turtles live on every continent except Antarctica.

  • Turtles will live in almost any climate warm enough to allow them to complete their breeding cycle.

  • While most turtles do not tolerate the cold well, the Blanding's turtle has been observed swimming under the ice in the Great Lakes region.

  • Turtles range in size from the 4-inch Bog Turtle to the 1500-pound Leathery Turtle.

  • North America contains a large variety of turtle species, but Europe contains only two species of turtle and three species of tortoise.

  • The top domed part of a turtle's shell is called the carapace and the bottom underlying part is called the plastron.

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