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Fauna & Flora Cambodia - Protecting Sea Turtles video screenshot

Fauna & Flora Cambodia - Protecting Sea Turtles video screenshot

Turtle bonanza in Cambodia

Hundreds of hatchlings discovered in a series of nest finds following a decade of fruitless searching


You wait ten years for a turtle nest and then nine come along at once.

In March 2022, beach patrols conducted jointly by Fauna & Flora and our government partners in Cambodia came across a green turtle nest – the first in a decade – on a remote offshore island. To the surprise and delight of those present at the discovery, hatchlings were witnessed emerging from the clutch of 93 eggs. This alone was big news, offering renewed hope for the country’s threatened sea turtle populations.

Nine turtles nesting

Fast forward to the end of 2023, and we bring you the scarcely believable news that the team appears to have found a further nine sea turtle nests within the space of just a few days. Five of these have already been confirmed, and two of these clutches have already hatched.

Fauna & Flora and our partners have been scouring this particular area for signs of turtle nesting for many years, convinced that it was potentially a perfect haven for any remaining females searching for a relatively undisturbed beach where they could safely lay their eggs.

That confidence and persistence in the face of so many disappointed hopes were finally vindicated last year with the long-awaited news that a nest had been found.

Video of Chea Bona, the Cambodian Navy volunteer who made the first of the discoveries. Chea said ‘For me, being part of this volunteer team is a joy, and witnessing sea turtle nests in Cambodia for the first time is a wonder.'

Green turtle. © Jeremy Holden / Fauna & Flora

Green turtle. © Jeremy Holden / Fauna & Flora

Green turtle clutch size ranges between 85 and 200 eggs, depending on the age of the female. The hatchlings remain buried for days until they all emerge together at night.

Turtle patrol pays dividends

Since that initial discovery, Fauna & Flora has continued to engage with Cambodian naval personnel stationed on the island, training volunteers in turtle identification and explaining the importance and rarity of these marine reptiles. The volunteers now conduct daily patrols, searching for signs of turtles and their nests, and it’s thanks to them that the latest findings came to light.

The confirmation that sea turtles are still coming to nest in Cambodia – and in significant numbers – reinforces the urgent need to work with the government to ensure a basic level of protection for these increasingly rare reptiles. The fact that the females have chosen such a remote nesting site on an uninhabited island demonstrates the vital importance of sanctuaries that are free from human interference.

Fauna & Flora's Cambodia team is working tirelessly to protect sea turtles. Watch a video describing how we partner with military personnel to monitor and protect them.

Sea turtles are among the most threatened of the countless marine life forms that are being pushed to the brink as a result of human impact on their environment. The green turtle – categorised as Endangered on the IUCN Red List – is one of several species on Fauna & Flora’s radar. From leatherbacks and hawksbills in Nicaragua to loggerheads in Cabo Verde, our conservation activities are contributing to the recovery of sea turtles across the globe.

Turtle eggs in sand, Koh Tang, Cambodia. © Jeremy Holden / Fauna & Flora

Help us to protect this precious find

The next step for Fauna & Flora and our government partners is to put a minimum level of protection in place and ensure the long-term security of this vital turtle haven, to encourage these and other nesting females to return to the island’s beaches in the years to come.

Please help save turtles

Turtle eggs in sand, Koh Tang, Cambodia. © Jeremy Holden / Fauna & Flora