Sea Turtle Conservation Programmes
Sarawak is home to all five sea turtle species – the Green Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Olive Ridley Turtle, Leatherback Turtle and Loggerhead Turtle. All of these species are critically endangered worldwide and therefore the state government has set up a network of coastal and marine national parks dedicated to their conservation.
The best coastal sites to view nesting turtles are Similajau National Park near Bintulu and Tanjung Datu National Park on the southwestern tip of Sarawak. However, the largest number of turtle landings, mostly of green turtles, take place on the islands of Talang-Satang National Park, just a short boat journey from Kuching.
The largest of these islands, Pulau Satang Besar, is open to visitors and local tour operators offer day and overnight trips, including a visit to the turtle hatchery. Satang Besar offers excellent snorkelling – free swimming sea turtles are often seen around the reefs just offshore from the island’s superb beach.
The park’s main turtle conservation centre, Pulau Talang-Talang Besar, is usually closed to visitors. However, Sarawak Forestry, custodian of Sarawak’s National Parks, offers a superb opportunity for hands-on involvement in turtle conservation through its Sea Turtle Adoption Programme, where visitors spend 4 days working with professional conservationists, learning about turtles and taking part in conservation activities including: beach patrols to locate turtle landings; monitoring of nesting activities; tagging and measuring turtles; transferring eggs to the hatchery; releasing hatchlings and data recording.