TSMP is under Sabah Park’s jurisdiction which has created several coral reef sites for its research programme. It has recorded over 528 species of reef fish, more than 240 species of marine invertebrate and several species of sea grass.
The damaging part to conservation and tourism is that fish bombing is reported to be still widespread.
Surrounding TSMP are several idyllic islands where visitors can scuba dive, swim, snorkel and stay overnight, except for Pulau Sipadan, Malaysia’s only oceanic island. The previous issue of Berita IDS had featured some of these islands including Kapalai, Mataking, Mabul and Sipadan.
Visitors can move from one island to another in the open seas far from the mainland and discover that beneath the waters are many sparkling corals teeming with beautiful marine life.
Pulau Pom Pom is another island which is great for holiday makers. It has good beaches, accommodation and seminar facilities, and a huge restaurant. A few semi-government bodies have held their top-level management and motivational seminars on the island.
Visitors who are unable to go island hopping can view these islands from the summit of Bukit Tenggorak in mainland Semporna. The view is breathtaking.
Sabah has an enormous swampy, forest-covered flood plain along the State’s longest river, the Kinabatangan, which is dotted with ox-bow lakes and covered with limestone outcrops. The lower Kinabatangan region is a key eco-tourism destination. The habitats are home to a wide-ranging wildlife including the Proboscis Monkey, Orang Utan, hornbill, Oriental Darte bird; crocodile, elephants, marine turtles, and plant life such as the Rafflesia, the world’s biggest flower, and the pitcher plant.
Sabah’s other conservation areas include the Crocker Range Park, Kinabalu Park, Danum Valley Protection Forest Reserve, Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Kulamba Wildlife Reserve and Tawau Hills Park. Other island parks which have been established and are significant for marine conservation include Pulau Tiga Park, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and Turtle Islands Park.