DUNGUN, Terengganu : Pulau Tenggol, known as the crocodile-shaped island off the coast of central Terengganu, is a well-known paradise for divers as the island is rich with a seabed covered in healthy corals and marine life compared to other resort islands in the state.
However, many are unaware that the island, located in Dungun district, also has bountiful untouched and unpolluted natural treasures in the permanent forest reserve that is more than 200 years old.
State Forestry Department director Roslan Rani said the 207-hectare Pulau Tenggol Forest Reserve was gazetted in 1941 to protect the virgin forest from activities such as development and encroachment.
“The Pulau Tenggol Forest Reserve is one of the 44 permanent forest reserves in Terengganu. Among the plant species found here are the Balau Laut and Meranti tree species, some of which are between 150 and 200 years old.
“On the forest floor, there is an abundance of herb plants such as Tongkat Ali which are often used for research and Cycas which can be planted in pots and have a very high value,” he told reporters when met on the island.
According to Roslan, the department has been taking proactive measures to preserve the forests on Pulau Tenggol, including by creating ecological plots or Virgin Jungle Reserve covering more than 133 hectares for research on plant species.
He said the ecological plots would be a learning ground for visitors to the island, especially the younger generation, so that they would understand and appreciate the environmental resources better.
Meanwhile, Tenggol Coral Beach Resort owner Galaxxy Siew said the forest reserve is one of the main tourist attractions of Pulau Tenggol, especially for nature lovers.
“The forest keeps the area cool and shady. So tourists can sunbathe on the beach without feeling hot under the scorching sun,” he told reporters at the four-day Jom ke Pulau Tenggol programme which started on Thursday.
Siew said they had built a hiking trail on a 100-metre high hill near the resort, which will allow hikers to enjoy a view of the South China Sea and the lush greenery of the island.