Pulau Selingan in the foreground is the largest of three of three islands north of Sandakan that make up the Turtle Islands Park, established by Sabah Parks in 1977. Here, the first turtle hatchery in Sabah was set up in 1966. Natives have long harvested turtle eggs on these islands for food and sale. But turtle are also hunted for food, their shells and skins, and their numbers have noticeably shrunk over the years Conservation has been stepped up, making hunting illegal and licenses necessary for collecting eggs. Both green and hawksbill turtles lay their eggs in the park. Visitors can stay at Selingan’s chalets to watch turtles laying eggs- the peak season being August to October- or newly-hatched turtles tunneling their way out of the sand at the hatchery.
The green turtle nests throughout the year on the island of Pulau Selingan, Pulau Bakungan Kecil and Pulau Gulisan. Nesting is a laborious task for turtle. A eggs is laid before the nest is buried and the tracks covered. When this ritual is completed, the turtle returns to the sea.
The island’s beaches are constantly under surveillance for nesting turtle. Nests are usually marked and eggs transplanted to hatcheries in the morning. At Selingan, eggs are carefully placed in the morning. At Selingan, eggs are carefully placed in sand pits about 73cm deep, buried and fenced up with wire mesh. Nests are tagged, noting date of collection, number of eggs and given a serial number of record. After 49 to 62 days,young turtles emerge and instinctively crowd at the side of the mesh closest to the sea. They are released soon after.
(Pic. Source : tripadeal.com.au)