Turtle Conservation

why is it important?

Turtles are considered indicator species, meaning that their presence or absence can indicate the health of an ecosystem. They also ensure that the ecosystem stays balanced; for example, leatherbacks help manage the amount of jellyfish in the ocean, hawksbills help reefs by eating sponges that compete with corals for space, and green turtles keep seagrass beds healthy.

Furthermore, they are important for scientific research as they have unique adaptations and behaviors that can provide insights into evolution, physiology and behavior.  They have been studied extensively in fields such as ecology, physiology and genetics.

Last but not least, turtle nesting helps beaches. The eggs and hatchlings that don’t survive provide essential nutrients for coastal vegetation. Hatchlings are also an important source of food for many animals. Birds, fish, and mammals rely on plentiful hatchlings to survive during nesting season.

Let's talk numbers

Hot Fact

The sex of baby turtles is determined by the temperature of the sand, the girls are hot, the boys are cold.

Our turtle conservation Goals


Turtles are great, you will struggle to find anyone who disagrees.  They are a major focus for wildlife conservation globally and a large part of our marine conservation project.  We here in the Gili Islands are amazingly lucky to be in one of the few, if not the only place on earth where seeing a turtle in the wild is all but guaranteed.  This is great as Hawksbill Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) are classed as critically endangered on a global scale and Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas) are endangered, yet they both thrive around the Gili Islands in Indonesia.

Turtles are a very big aspect of our research because of their economic and ecological roles on the Gili Islands.  It’s our mission to create a turtle photo ID database in collaboration with local conservation organizations to determine the turtle population of Gili Matra Marine Park in Indonesia.

The cool thing is that you can join our mission by submitting your photograph(s) of turtles.  Did you know that each side profile of the face of a turtle is unique and can be used like fingerprints to ID them? So please make sure you have a good close up and share it with us via sharks@gilisharkconservation.com.  We will upload your picture into our database and if it hasn’t been identified you have the honor of naming the turtle.  If you are interested, we will keep you up to date about the resightings and development of your turtle.

Research Methods

Photo ID
Citizen Science Data Collection
Roving Survey Dives

Meet the Turtles

Effective marine conservation for threatened species relies heavily on information about that species and its population. Since 2016 we’ve been studying the turtle population in the Gili Matra Marine Park. So far we’ve been able to identify more than 400 Green Turtles and close to 150 Hawksbill Turtles! Below you find some of our favorites.

Support our mission

Support turtles in your daily life