Malaysia

Turtle Islands

 

Turtle Islands National Park (Taman Negara Pulau Penyu) is located some 40 kilometers north of Sandakan in Sabah, east Malaysia. It consists of 3 islands – Selingaan, Bakkungan Kechil and Gulisaan (often spelt with -an instead of the traditional -aan), including the surrounding coral reefs and ocean. The Park is famous for its green turtles and hawksbill turtles which lay their eggs on the beaches of the islands. The Park covers an area of 17.4 km². The name Turtle Islands, however, refers to 10 islands, 3 of which are part of Turtle Islands National Park of Malaysia, and 7 which belongs to the Municipality of Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines.

On 1 August 1966, the first turtle hatchery in Malaysia was established on Selingan, funded entirely by the Sabah state government. Turtle hatcheries on the remaining two islands followed shortly after. In 1972, Selingan, Bakkungan Kechil and Gulisan were designated as a Game and Bird Sanctuary. In 1977, this status was upgraded to that of a Marine Park. Permanent park staff monitor the turtles, protect the hacheries and tag the turtles for research purposes. Libaran Island is also designated within the park boundaries, however it is not a major turtle hatching spot.

Turtle Islands Park is administered by Sabah Parks.

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