Pulau Sipandan is a small c. 10 ha atoll (the remnant of a volcano) situated in 600 m deep water in the Makassar sea trench which runs between Borneo and Sulawesi.
The Makassar Strait is the worlds most important faunal and floral divide popularly known as Wallace’s Line.
Sipadan island was declared a bird sanctuary by the British colonial government of North Borneo in 1933 and the original vegetation has never been seriously disturbed. In this way Sipadan is exceptional among all the small islands of East Borneo. Sipadan is also exceptionally rich in strangling figs with large numbers of both Ficus callophylla and Ficus glandifera. Ficus glandifera is more common than Ficus callophylla on Sipadan.
All photos taken on a birding visit on 19 September 2020 by Chun Xing Wong and Shavez Cheema of 1StopBorneo Wildlife
Pulau Sipadan is 600 meters long and 300 meters wide at the widest point. The total area is c. 10 ha.
The black area top left is 600 m deep ocean. The white specks are dive boats above the drop off where diving is most popular. Sipadan is considered one of the world’s top dive sites.
Sipadan is still largely covered in virgin beach forest including many large fig trees. When fruiting these fig trees attract large numbers of rare nomadic island pigeons.
Ficus callophylla growing near the jetty on Sipadan
Ficus callophylla ripe figs
Ficus callophylla ripe fig
Ficus glandifera growing next to the beach
Ficus glandifera fig fruits. Note that the figs sit in a small cup like an acorn.