On the bank of Sabah’s longest river, the Kinabatangan River, Bilit Rainforest Lodge is situated strategically in the heart of numerous intriguing wildlife and fascinating habitats such as oxbow lakes, limestone caves, mangrove swamps and various types of tropical forests.
The Turtle Islands Park which lies 40km northeast of Sandakan (3 hours by boat) in the Sulu Sea is one of the most important turtle breeding spot in Southeast Asia. Turtle Islands Park, made up of a cluster of 3 islands, Selingan being the largest, Bakungan and Gulisan Kecil, is a safe haven for the endangered Hawksbill and Green Turtles. Every year, these turtles make their pilgrimages to their original birthplace to procreate and thus the cycle continues.
When night falls, female turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. It is a slow process as the turtles dig the sand with their flippers, lay and bury their eggs for incubation before making their way back into the sea.
Park ranger will then carefully transfer the 100 over odd eggs into a protected enclosure for monitoring. Hatchings which emerge about 2 months later are subsequently released into the sea.
Visitors can learn about the conservation activities put forth since 1977, in Selingan Turtle Island. This island, which houses the park’s headquarters and a turtle hatchery, comes with modern chalet accommodation and some basic facilities to allow visitors to stay overnight to witness this rare and moving moment of turtles laying eggs. Visitors can also dive into the surrounding sea to marvel at the turtles among the corals or relax and snorkel in the stunning clear waters.
NOTE FROM SABAH PARKS:
Only cameras of unaided flash are allowed to photograph the turtles. This is because shining a light on them or using camera flashes can be stressful on the creatures.
Video/Digital Video Cameras are not allowed.
Visitors are forbidden from going around the island on their own from 6:00pm – 6:00am