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Turtle Islands

Turtle Islands are part of the Sulu archipelago of about 400 islands with a variety of shapes and sizes in the Sulu Sea, Tawi-Tawi Province, Philippines, where the Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary with a land area of 298 sq kilometers are nesting world's largest green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the islands are expressed as Turtle Islands Heritage Protected area by the Philippine government in 1996 with a trail of thousands of turtles and hatchlings every early morning.

The Turtle Islands lies about 1000 kilometers southwest of Manila bounded by the Sulu Sea and Mindanao in the west and north, while the Sulawesi in the east and south. Some groups of islands including Boan, Lihiman, Langaan, Great Bakkungan, Taganak, and Baguan have a total aggregate of 2414 sq kilometers. Taganak Island is the largest for an area of 1.24 sq kilometers and the smallest island is Langaan to 0.07 sq kilometers.

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These islands range from flat, low, highland hills to topographic help features as high as 150 meters above sea level. The Turtle Islands are internationally recognized in the Coral Triangle Initiative which is ranked 4th as Flagship Regional Site as part of CT6 countries are Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste.

  • Taganak Island has an area of about 1.24 sq km and the highest point is 148 meters (486 ft).
  • Boaan or Boan Island has an area of 0.76 sq km and a highest point of 59 meters (194 feet).
  • Great Bakkungaan or Great Bakkungan Island has an area of 0.51 sq km and a highest point of 58 meters (190 feet).
  • Baguan Island has an area of 0.29 sq km and a high point of 40 meters (130 ft).
  • Lihiman Island is a mud volcanoes and coral area of 0.29 sq km.
  • Langaan Island is an extensive flat coral island of 0.07 sq km and the highest point is 458 meters (1,503 ft).
  • Sibaung Island has an area of 0.001 sq km.

Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary

High status declared under Proclamation No. 171 on August 26, 1999 and identified as Extremely High (EH) for biodiversity conservation as one of the largest green sea turtle nesting habitats in the world. Sea turtles play an important role in the ecosystem because they maintain healthy coral reefs and seaweed as breeding grounds for small fish and crustaceans.

During peak season in May-July at least 80-150 turtles lay eggs every night. Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) also appear but with low density. At least 200 species have been identified including 10 mangrove species in Boan and Taganak Island, 19 species of ferns on 6 islands, and 34 bird species throughout the Turtle Islands.

Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary is incorporated in the Marine Protected Area Network (MPA network) on May 14, 2014 in Manado, Indonesia, to protect sea turtles and habitats that work on connectivity and operate cooperatively in the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) in Sulu Sulawasi Marine Ecoregion (SSME).

The Philippines has mud volcanoes only in the Turtle Islands on the islands of Lihiman, Great Bakkungaan and Boaan. The hills on these islands are mostly gray mud volcanoes that flow from the vents in a pulsating way accompanied by gas bubbles.

On Lihiman Island, a harder mud extrusion mixed with large rocks creates a 20-meter (66 ft) wide crater in the hills. The extrusion is reportedly accompanied by a light earthquake and evidence of extruded material can be found at the height of the surrounding trees. A large amount of material is discharged from this volcano through drainage on the northern slope for flow to the sea.

www.xvlor.com Turtle Islands

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Location: Tawi-Tawi Province, Philippines.

Routes and public transport: Flights to Sanga Sanga Airport in Bongao City, then use the boat to Turtle Islands.

Advice: A visit to the Turtle Islands is only available as part of the organized tour. Taganak, Boaan, Great Bakkungaan, Lihiman and Langaan are inhabited by 4,727 people and the whole island is dominated by houses, while Baguan and Sibaung are uninhabited.

The inhabited islands have an area of 3.08 sq kilometers (1.19 sq mi) for a density of 1,534 people per sq km. During the day, visitors can enjoy the beach, snorkel in the sea and watch seaweed farms and seagrass on the islands. The accommodation is simple but clean and comfortable.



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» Philippines
» List of Beaches and Islands
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