Cherating Turtle Sanctuary is located just beside Asia's first Club Med in Cherating, Pahang. This centre was established in the year 1972 as a turtle hatchery in an effort to protect the endanger species in particular the Leatherback Turtle. It was opened to the public in June, 1 1998.
Situated at the Chendor Beach or Pantai Chendor, this centre helps to ensure the survival of the turtles that land here to lay eggs during the months from April to August. You are allowed to come here during the night and the centre will alert you if there are turtles that come up the shore to lay eggs. It also acts as an information centre to educate the public about turtles and the need to protect them.
The Cherating Turtle Sanctuary run by the Department of Fisheries.
In total, there are 7 species of marine turtles in the world and 4 of these species land and lay their eggs on Malaysian beaches. They are the Leatherback Turtle, Green Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle and Olive Ridley Turtle.
Over the years, the number of Leatherback turtles that come to the shore of Malaysia has dwindled and you will not be able to see any of them coming here now. The reasons are because of the poachers who came to take the eggs away for commercial reason, abused of the turtles from the public and the pollution.
Besides acting as a place where you can wait at the benches in the night, the Cherating Turtle Sanctuary also has many exhibits for you to explore. There are information on the different types of turtles, their habitat, food and the location where they can be found in Malaysia and in particular, the state of Pahang. There are also graphs and statistics on the number of turtles that come here.
It was reported recently that the number of green turtles that came here has increased from 160 for the year 2006 to 288 from Jan to Aug 2007. This shows that the turtles conservation programme is bearing fruit and should be continued.
Apart from information on turtles, you will be able to see many exotic and nice sea shells that are on displayed at the main exhibition hall. Big corals are also aplenty here.
The many exhibits that you can see here.
You will be able to see the turtle hatchlings that the centre is involved in. These turtles will be kept here until they areold enough to be released into the sea during the night.
The hatchlings that will be released into the sea once they are of age.
See the adult Hawksbill Turtles and Green Turtles that are being kept here. The Hawksbill has a mouth that resembles a hawk's bill and can weigh up to 75kg with a length of 1m.
The Green Turtle has a green fat in its body. Externally, it is olive-brown in colour. It can have a weight of up to 270kg and 1.2m in length. It is the only species with a hook on both of its front swimming flippers. It feeds on algae, sponges, sea grasses and lays between 80 to 150 eggs per nest.
The adult Green and Hawksbill turtles at the centre.
Tuesdays to Sundays : 9am to 1pm, 2pm to 5:30pm
(The lunch break is from 1pm to 2pm. The centre is closed on Mondays.)
Fridays: 9am to 12:00pm, 3pm to 5:30pm
(The centre is closed from 12pm to 3pm for Friday prayer)
Night Visiting Hours
Mondays to Sundays : 7:30pm to 7:30am
The programme during the night include turtle watching, releasing the hatchlings to the sea and the turtle hatching programme.
Visiting the centre is Free of Charge.
For more information, you can call the centre at +6 09 581 9087.
If you are coming from Kuantan, follow the direction to Kemamam/Kuala Terengganu towards Cherating by using the scenic coastal highway route No. 3. You will see the signage that takes you to Club Med and Cherating Turtle Sanctuary.
The huge signage to the sanctuary.
Another place you can visit is the Turtle Hatchery Centre in Segari, Perak at the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia if you happen to be there.