Things that Spark Joy: Anantara’s Annual Baby Turtle and Shark Release

Anantara Resorts are one step ahead in terms of marine conservation

It’s no question that the luxury hotel chain values the importance of marine life. In support of the conservation efforts of the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation (MKMTF) and the Phuket Marine Biology Centre (PMBC), guests at Anantara Layan and Mai Khao—and its sister property Avani+ in Phuket—recently participated in the annual baby turtle and shark release program.

Ranging in age from 12 to 15 months, 54 young green turtles and 34 young bamboo sharks were safely released by the beaches where both Anantara Layan Resort and Anantara Mai Khao Villas are located. Phuket is home to green turtles, leatherbacks, hawk bills and olive ridley, all of which are listed as either endangered or critically endangered. 

The Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation (MKMTF) was set up by the parent company of Anantara and Avani, Minor Hotels, to help rejuvenate the turtle population in Thailand. Ever since the project began in 2022, over 7,000 turtles have been released.

Every year between November and February—the usual breeding season—marine turtles return to the beach they were born on to lay their eggs. But because numbers have been severely depleting over the last twenty years, locals take the eggs to the PMBC hatchery where baby turtles will be carefully taken care of for a period of one year, in order to improve their chances of survival and to be protected from the elements of nature and human exploitation. The PMBC works hard to strengthen baby turtles, raising them in tanks where they receive sufficient food and constant care by specialists. The turtle’s shells will be at least 20cm long and weigh 2kg after a year, and if their vitals and flippers are in a healthy condition, they are released back into the ocean.

Also led by the PMBC, the bamboo shark breeding program releases sharks back into the sea after nine months of safety in the nursery. Completely harmless to humans, bamboo sharks are one of the smallest sharks in the world, growing to just one meter in length.  

To learn more about the life of a turtle from resident marine biologists, guests can visit the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation next to Anantara Mai Khao each morning at 11am. Guests can further support the Foundation’s efforts to save the environment by donating 30 baht per night during their stay under Anantara’s Dollars for Deeds initiative

For more information about the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation and Anantara and Avani+’s annual release programs, please call +66 76 336 100 or email