Turtle Islands Park Sabah
The Turtle Islands Park was gazetted as a marine park in 1977 to protect and conserve the breeding habits of the sea turtles.The two species that are still surviving in bigger number are the Green Turtles and the Hawksbill Turtles.These endangered species come to the three islands located 40km northeast of Sandakan, the gateway to eco-adventure in Sabah. The three islands are located at the Sulu Sea are:
The Hawksbill and Green turtles.
Covering an area of 1,740 hectares, this marine park is only limited to 38 visitors each day. Hence, if you are coming here, make an early booking with Sabah Parks via Crystal Quest Sdn. Bhd. Permission is needed to come here and there are wardens station at all the islands to ensure that the visitors do not do anything that disturb the natural habitat of the turtles.
An Introduction to the Sea Turtles
Turtles Laying Eggs
The main attraction of this park is seeing the turtles laying eggs at night. Generally, the turtles will come at night to the shore and create an egg chamber using their rear flippers. They then lay a minimum of 40 eggs up to a maximum of 200 eggs. When this is done, they will then cover the eggs with the sand before returning to the sea.
One interesting point to note while you are here is that the sex of the offspring is determined by the temperature of the nests. A cooler temperature will produce male offspring and a warmer one will produce female offspring. The eggs are then transferred to the fenced hatcheries to prevent poachers from collecting them and selling them in the market.
The eggs will hatch in about 50 day's time after which they will be released to the sea by the wardens. A study showed that out of the many offsprings, only a small number survive to adulthood as there are many sea creatures preying on these young ones.
A point to note is that you are not allowed to walk along the each at night. The rangers will inform you when the turtles come up to the shore.
Green Turtle Laying Eggs
Other activities that you can do besides watching the turtles are snorkelling, scuba diving, swimming and fishing. There are hatcheries that you can see to learn more about the life cycle of the turtles.
As the conservation effort of the turtles is a delicate process, only Pulau Selingan has accommodation and a visitor interpretative centre. The number of visitors is limited to 38 per day.
Get to Sandakan by flight if you are coming from Kuala Lumpur. Take the 9:30am speedboat from Sandakan Harbour and you will reach the islands at about 10:30am.
The best time to sight the Green turtles are from July to October and Hawksbill turtles from February to April though you may be able to see a smaller number of them at other times. The Green turtles are bigger in size.
Green Turtle At Selingan Island
An overview of the trip to the park
For information on accommodation and permit to visit Turtle Islands Park, contact Crystal Quest Sdn. Bhd at:
Sabah Park Jetty
Jalan Buli Sim-Sim
Tel: +6 089 212 711 or +6 089 221 657
The admission fee to the park is RM10 per adult and RM6 per child.
Each camera that is brought in is charged RM10.