Nearly seventy percent of Malaysia’s marine turtles come to nest on the shores of Terengganu on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Historically, the shoreline between the estuaries of the Paka and Kertih rivers has been one of the most important nesting sites in Terengganu. However, most of the nesting beaches along the Paka-Kertih stretch have already been degraded by human activities and industrial development. Within this turtle rookery, Ma’ Daerah is the only pristine area left; its 1.7 km beach running from Tanjung Batu Lata to Tanjung Labohan is well guarded from the coastal highway by forested hills at Bukit Labohan rising up to 290m. Its isolation from the rest of the rookery is a significant factor for its natural success as a turtle sanctuary.
The Ma’ Daerah Turtle Sanctuary was initiated in 1999 by a unique partnership between the Department of Fisheries, WWF-Malaysia, BP Asia Pacific (Malaysia) and BPPA.