As we all might already know, turtles are classified as an endangered species, and we’re talking about nearly all of the species here. However, fortunately, there are still locations that are haven or sanctuary for turtles to lay their eggs on the beach safely.
The Turtle Island Park located about 40km north of Sandakan in the Sulu Sea consists of three islands- Selingan, Bakungan Kecil and Gulisan. It is where the endangered species of green and hawksbill turtles come to nest and lay their eggs safely and undisturbed. These three islands are managed by Sabah Parks with full-time caretakers to monitor and protect the turtles and their hatcheries. Don’t be alarmed or surprised when you see these turtles are tagged, they are tagged for research purposes.
Turtles reproduce and nest about two to eight nests a season. Hawksbill turtles are the highest producing species with over 200 eggs in one nest. Witnessing turtles come ashore to lay their eggs is an experience you’ll never forget and interesting as well.
Like its namesake, Turtle Island Park is the place to seek if you want to experience this. Selingan Island is the largest island out of the three islands and it is where the park’s headquarters, turtle hatchery as well as tourist accommodation are at.
Turtles usually come ashore to lay their eggs after dusk which will be advisable for you to spend a night there. We have tours that can be arranged to pick you up from the Sandakan Airport or hotel lobby to the island that also includes an overnight stay at Selingan Turtle Island Chalet. After dinner, the park rangers will alert the visitors that the turtles are coming ashore to lay their eggs. There, you’ll be able to witness the collecting of eggs from the nest site, planting them in the hatchery and also take part in the release of baby turtle hatchlings.