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KEY FACTS Population Trend: Decreasing ↓
IUCN Status: Endangered
*Population estimate: 85,000 – 90,000 nesting females

Scientific nameChelonia mydas

Size: upto 1.5m

Found in: Malay Peninsula and East Malaysia

Habitat: Open and coastal waters, sandy beaches, and islands

Diet: Fish eggs, jellyfish, small invertebrates, sponges, seagrasses, algae, and crustaceans

Average clutch size: 85 – 200 hatchlings

Average Life-expectancy in the wild: up to 70 years

Did you know?
The longest recorded distance travelled by a green sea turtle was 2472 miles, from the Chagos Islands to the coast of Somalia in east Africa.


The Green Sea Turtle, or ‘Penyu Agar’ to the locals, is one of the most common turtle species in Malaysia and worldwide. Also, the name ‘Green turtle’ is actually derived from the greenish colour of their cartilage and fats, not their shells, which is normally brown or olive. Their soft body parts are covered by a wide, smooth shell, and the underside of the shell is yellow. Also, they have strong paddle-like flippers which help to reduce drag underwater and swim effortlessly.

Even though they are perfectly adapted to life in the sea, at times they will venture onto land to lay their eggs, which can be a laborious and weighty task. Regardless, it is their nature and green turtles often migrate long distances, returning to the same area used by their mothers, to lay their eggs. After 2 months, the turtle hatchlings crawl out of their nest and scramble towards the sea in numbers, while avoiding a multitude of predators (birds, crabs, sharks, etc.). If they survive this ordeal, these hatchlings will lead a nomadic lifestyle travelling via ocean currents in search of food and safety.

Green sea turtles are listed as endangered, and their numbers are decreasing. Their eggs are considered as delicacies, while the adults are killed for their meat and their shells. Other threats include: destruction of nesting and foraging areas, irresponsible eco-tourism practices, fishnets, plastics, and rising sea temperatures.

Learn more about Green sea turtles.

* Population estimate for this species is based on nesting beach monitoring reports and publications from 2004. Updated assessment required.

Turtle Rescue



The Perhentian Turtle volunteering project is one of our most popular and well-established project. Furthermore, it is fully integrated with a community project to help the local fishing village transition to sustainable tourism.


We offer a wide range of internships for young graduates and budding conservationists. Practically, these allow you to gain valuable work experience and CV skills. Our project locations are generally in the tropical rainforest or on paradise islands. The minimum stay is 3 months.



The lower Kinabatangan floodplains are abundant in wildlife, such as Orangutan, Pygmy elephants and Sun bears. You can spend time not just admiring this amazing landscape, but helping to protect it by restoring habitats and conducting wildlife population surveys.

Perhentian Turtle Voluntering


Learn to dive with PADI conservation diving at the Perhentian Marine Research Station. This is a well-established marine conservation project in partnership with Reef Check Malaysia and the national Marine Parks Department.

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