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Protecting a Turtle Paradise in Indonesia

Turtle release in borneo

Antipoaching patrol team helps marine turtle hatchlings make it back to the sea.

Within Indonesia’s West Kalimantan province on the island of Borneo lies a long stretch of sandy beach that is very important to marine turtles. Thousands of endangered green and critically endangered hawksbill turtles come ashore and use this beach for nesting.

Despite the critical importance of this wildlife habitat, no protections exist, leaving the nesting activities completely vulnerable to beach traffic and coastal development. The biggest threat to the turtles, however, has been the decades of egg poaching by locals, who can turn a high profit from illegal trade across the border with Malaysia. In 2009 and 2010, WWF discovered that out of 2,146 nests, more than 95 percent were lost to poachers.

WWF Monitoring Efforts

Our monitoring efforts confirmed the seriousness of the poaching threat. In 2011 WWF started a local campaign to protect the turtle nests. We educated people about the problem with egg poaching and trained them on how to monitor nests themselves. As a result, 27 members of local villages came together to form an anti-poaching patrol team. They also received training from local law enforcement agencies.

At the end of the 2011 turtle nesting season, the rate of egg poaching had dropped significantly (to only 25 percent) and in 2012 it continued to decline. Such a reduction in poaching shows how effective the community patrol has been and the importance of involving the local community in conservation efforts. WWF will continue to support these beach patrol activities and work on obtaining protective status for the area.

Learn more about marine turtles

  • Green Turtle on shore

    Back to the Sea

    Moonlight reveals a female green turtle crawling back into the ocean after laying her eggs on the beach. This coastline is an important nesting area for thousands of marine turtles like her.

  • nesting beach

    Nesting Beach

    The nesting beach area extends more than 60 miles along the northwest coast of the island of Borneo, Indonesia.

  • Green Turtle Nesting

    Digging a Nest

    A female green turtle uses her flippers to dig a nest in the sand. Therein she will lay 80-120 ping pong ball-sized eggs which will hatch after 60 days.

  • turtle monitoring

    Nest Monitoring

    A WWF turtle researcher measures a nesting female green turtle. Data on number of nests and size, number of eggs and hatching success is also collected as part of overall monitoring activities.

  • green turtle hatchling

    Hope for Hatchlings

    Hatchlings like this green turtle now have a chance thanks to the anti-poaching efforts of WWF and the local community. For decades, turtle eggs have been taken by people and sold illegally.

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