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Wildlife Tours in Borneo

  • Wildlife Tours in Borneo
 

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Located at the centre of Maritime South-east Asia, Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is home to its oldest rainforests, some 130 million years old. Many species of plants and animals evolved here and today the varied habitats of the island and surrounding waters provide a haven for an incredibly rich array of wildlife. The island is divided among three countries, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, with the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak in the north offering some of the most accessible wildlife watching opportunities.

One of the jungle’s most famous inhabitants is the Bornean orang-utan, the world’s largest arboreal ape, which shares 97% of our DNA!  Sadly an endangered species due to the destruction of its natural habitat, two of the best places to observe these shy and fascinating creatures are the rehabilitation centres at Semenggoh in Sarawak and Sepilok in Sabah. Orphaned and injured orang-utans are brought here to recuperate before returning to the wild.

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A primate found only in Borneo is the proboscis monkey. With its distinctive pink bulbous nose, these engaging creatures live in groups and favour lowland tidal habitats. The floodplain jungles of the vast Kinabatangan River in Sabah and coastal cliffs of Sarawak’s Bako National Park are two of the best places to spot proboscis monkeys.

Borneo’s jungles and islands are home to over 600 species of birds, 38 of which are found nowhere else on the planet. Great locations for bird-watching include the  Gunung Mulu National Park, Mount Kinabalu National Park  (home to South-east Asia’s highest Peak, Mount Kinabalu at 4095m) and the Kinabatangan. Particularly striking species include hornbills, brightly coloured pittas and the Bornean bristlehead.

It’s impossible to talk about wildlife in Borneo without mentioning the amazing diversity of its marine life. The warm tropical seas attract many diving fanatics but anyone with a mask and snorkel can enjoy an incredible variety of fish and corals. The waters and reefs of the Tunku Rahman National Park are easily accessible off the coast from Kota Kinabalu whilst Sipadan in the Semporna Islands is famous for its near vertical walls attracting sharks, turtles and rays.

Destruction of the rainforest, poaching, over fishing and unchecked development are all issues that threaten Borneo’s wildlife. Thankfully, the governments that make up Borneo are now more aware than ever of these problems and the number of national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserves is growing. Public and private enterprises are banding together in an effort to preserve its unique heritage of flora and fauna.