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Talang - Satang National Park

 

Photo Credit: Sarawak Forestry

 

                    

Sarawak's first marine national park, established with the primary aim of conserving Sarawak's Marine Turtle population. This park includes all four islands of Pulau Satang Besar, Pulau Satang Kecil, Pulau Talang - Talang Besar, and Pulau Talang - Talang Kecil, and the area of sea and sea bed for 4.8 km from the highest point of each island. These four "Turtle Islands" are responsible for 95% of all the turtle landings in Sarawak. The park also includes the Pulau Takong Ara-Banun Wildlife Sanctuary, two tiny islets which are important nesting sites for colonies of Bridled Terns and Black-Naped Terns.

Pulau Satang Besar, the largest of the islands, is open to visitors, but conservation takes priority over tourism. Parts of both the island and the surrounding sea are off-limits to visitors, who must remain within the designated area. Despite these very necessary restrictions, Pulau Satang Besar is a fascinating and beautiful place to visit. The turtle hatchery is the main land-based attraction, where visitors can learn all about the conservation programme.

The island itself is steep and thickly forested, and unsuitable for trekking. However a white sand beach stretches across the entire southern side of the island. The surrounding waters are a deep green emerald with coral reefs just a short distance from the shore, which offer good snorkeling possibilities. The sea-bed slopes gradually to a depth of about 12 metres, with some attractive hard coral formations, soft corals, gorgonian sea fans and feather stars, surrounded by their attendant small fish. The colours can be fantastic, but visibility is frequently limited to between 3 and 10 metres, so only serious snorkellers and divers will see the corals at their best. Large pelagic fish are rare, but Green Turtles can occasionally be seen gliding gracefully through the water.

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