Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre Rehabilitates & Releases "Ninja The Turtle" #ReleasingNinja

On June 27th 2014, YTL Hotel's Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre released Ninja, the young green sea turtle it rescued and nursed back to health. Present at Ninja's release were various wildlife bodies such as Sabah Wildlife Rescue Unit, WWF Malaysia and Reef Check, as well as hotel guests and over 30 primary children from Gaya Island's Kampung Gaya School, invited as part of the resort's initiative to educate and raise awareness regarding marine conservation and the importance of preserving the rich ecology of Borneo. We were fortunate to be a part of this momentous event.

Scott Mayback, Resident Marine Biologist releasing Ninja back into the sea

Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre is Malaysia's first turtle rehabilitation centre and Ninja is the fourth turtle to be taken in by the resort. She was first discovered on April 4th, after the resort's Turtle Hotline received a call from Dr. Nathan Sen, the Assistant Director of Sabah Wildlife Department. He and his team had discovered a farmer who had the turtle in his possession. In Sabah, turtles are a protected species, carrying a fine of RM50,000 and 5 years imprisonment if found capturing them.

Gaya Island Resort's Marine Centre is located at the private Tavajun Bay

We say hello to Ninja :)

Gaya Island's Resort Manager Mr. Kirinjit Singh addressing the guests

Dr. Sen rescued Ninja and transferred her to Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre. At this point, Ninja was emaciated and suffering from septicemia. She was put under the care of  the centre's resident Marine Biologist, Scott Mayback. She was kept under surveillance and given various medications including antibiotics and topical medications to remove barnacles. Within 3 months, her weight improved from 7.7kg to 8.6kg and her appetite and colour returned.

Scott Mayback and Dr. Nathan Sen 

Ninja is deemed fit and able to survive in the sea by Marine Research Foundations's Dr Nick Pilcher on June 27th and was released at the Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre.

Ninja being released back into the sea... Bye Ninja! 

"Saving a single turtle requires team effort," says Mr Mayback. "For rescuing and rehabilitating Ninja, I need to thank Dr.Sen, Sabah Wildlife Rescue Unit's Dr Diana Ramirez who helped with the medical treatments, and Dr. Pilcher, without whom the turtle rescue centre would not have been founded. I hope that we can continue to not only help turtles and other sea life in need of care, but also motivate and inspire the public so they can also support and value our rich marine eco-system."

The event ended with Mr. Mayback carrying the turtle into the waters of  Gaya Island Resort's private Tavajun Bay, where she was released into her natural habitat. Ninja is estimated to be 7-10 years old; green sea turtles generally live up to approximately 80 years old, so we hope that Ninja lives a long, healthy life.

Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre's turtle rescue hotline can be contacted at +6013 899 9509. The public is encouraged to call the hotline should they find a sick, injured or illegally kept turtle in Sabah.


Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre is now home to several other baby turtles. Baby C and D were excited to see them and show them some love :)

Us :)

Joyous moment :)

A delicious Thai-inspired lunch awaits us at Feast Village after the turtle release event.

Many thanks to YTL Hotels for the kind invitation to this event.


Location: Gaya Island Resort, Malohom Bay, Pulau Gaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia.

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  1. Beautiful event, beautiful resort. By the way, are kids allowed? I might be wrong but I thought they have a "no kids" policy?

    1. Hi there, Gaya Island Resort definitely allows children and is in fact a very family-friendly resort. :)

  2. I am very happy for Ninja the Turtle. The lunch also looks delicious. blessings, Catherine

  3. Salam singgah, suka tengok mereka memelihara sumber khazanah alam yang diancam kepupusan.

  4. Great initiative! Love the beach and the crystal clear water :D

  5. The event seems fun and the kids look happy, nice trip!

  6. great shots of this very memorable occasion! baby d and baby c look like they're both loving their experience and learning valuable lessons too. the photos of ninja are very nice too :)

  7. Beautiful. Real sad that many in the peninsula have yet to realise there is so much spectacular natural beauty here on this side of the country to experience and behold. Not too safe to head south though - the most beautiful islands in the world are there, like Sipadan...but security is very much lacking, best avoided.

  8. Wow, Yen!

    It looks really fun staying in this resort. The baby turtles are so tiny :D


  9. Beautiful resort and event. The turtle are so cute . Love it .
    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Nice I wish I could touch it and take pics

  11. Very good exposure for the kids to see all these :)

  12. What a special experience to have seen! And what a wonderful experience for the kids too! :D I had no idea that you could hold turtles like that!

  13. Hope that Ninja made it safely out to sea!

  14. Ninja is a sweetie, love this!!! :)


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