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Explore the Wonders of Sabah Malaysia
Selingan turtle islands 西灵安-海龟群岛
Turtle Islands National Park (Taman Negara Pulau Penyu) is located some 40 kilometers north of Sandakan. It consists of 3 islands – Selingaan, Bakkungan Kechil and Gulisaan, 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. The islands boast a myriad of flora, including mangrove, lantana and the furry silver-leaved Tournefortia. However, the real stars of the island are the turtles, which come to nest the shores. Pulau Selingaan is the main nesting area for the green turtles (Chelonia mydas) while the beautiful hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys) tend to flock to the shores of Pulau Gulisan. The Turtle Island Park (gazetted 1977) lies 40km north of Sandakan in the Sulu Sea and consists of Selingan, Bakungan Kecil and Gulisan islands. The park is a safe haven for the endangered green and hawksbill turtles and gives you the rare opportunity to watch turtle landings. Selingan, the largest of the islands, houses the park’s headquarters, a turtle hatchery, tourist accommodation and basic facilities. The other two islands are more for conservation activities. As turtle landings usually occur after dusk, an overnight stay would be the best plan to see the turtles as they come ashore to lay their eggs, but shining a light on them or using camera flashes should be avoided as either can be stressful on the creatures. The turtles come ashore on the east and southwestern parts of the island to lay their eggs before returning to the sea. The turtles can come as early as 7pm, or as late at 2am and have also been seen nesting in the early hours of the morning between 5 to 6am. Turtles lay their eggs throughout the year, but the best time to head there is between July and October when the sea is calmer. Observe the collection of eggs, tagging of mother turtles and releasing of baby turtles into the sea. All sea turtle eat marine animals such as sponges, marine worms and molluscs. Adult Green Turtle are largely vegetarian, eating underwater grasses and seaweed while the Hawksbill Turtle is carnivorous and eats invertebrate animals of the coral reefs. The natural longevity of the sea turtles is unknown. They grow very slowly, taking from 10 to 20 years to reach maturity.