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Playing with Sea Turtles in Derawan Island
Sea turtles are one of the main attractions for tourists visiting Derawan Islands in East Kalimantan. Although they are critically endangered, we can still find green turtles swim freely between the poles at island docks or around Maratua Island in Derawan. A resident said that there was a time when the sea turtles were very easy to find on the beaches of Derawan Islands, but with the increasing number of cottages, the area available for sea turtles to play and lay their eggs decreased.
One of the ways initiated by the government to preserve the turtles is by working with NGOs to build a turtle conservation centre in Sangalaki Island. On this uninhabited island, where there is only one resort standing, we can see how turtles nest and hatch their eggs, and how they are ultimately released back into their natural habitat. Come to Sangalaki Island in the afternoon to spend some lazy hours on the white sands waiting for the sunset. In the evening, you will have a chance to see how a sea turtle nest with your own eyes.
However, it is forbidden to go see them without the company of an authorized personnel because spawning locations may differ every night. Moreover, turtles are also very sensitive to light and other disturbances no matter how small. If they feel even slightly uncomfortable, turtles will usually go back to the sea and not spawn. Once they start laying eggs then we can see the spawning process up close. To lay their eggs, sea turtles will make holes about 50 cm deep in the sand and release up to 100 eggs or more, one at a time.
Unfortunately, only a few of them will be able to survive and become adult turtles. This is caused by many factors, like threats from predators that like to consume turtle eggs. And, one of their biggest threats also comes from humans. To protect sea turtles from extinction, the government deliberately move turtle eggs from their original location to a safer one. Sea turtles in Sangalaki Island are included in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix I, which lists species that are threatened with extinction. This means they should be protected and should not be traded.
For more information about this trip, you can contact Kakaban Trip: