Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Wild Jungles of Borneo

Imagine yourself in the middle of the rainforest. An overhead canopy of thick tropical trees sways against a clear-blue sky. Droplets of moisture cascade down from leaf to leaf. The air is fresh and fragrant with tropical dew. The vegetation blooms in a thousand different techni-colors. And all around you, eyes are watching…eyes belonging to some of the most exotic species on Earth.

You’re on the island of Borneo, third-largest on Earth. An island so huge, in fact, that it’s part of three different countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei.

Borneo is a giant living laboratory, a place where the wildlife and plant life hasn’t changed in thousands of years. The rainforests here have remained untouched by the Twenty-First Century.

In Kinabalu National Park alone there are more than 1,000 species of orchids, and some 300 species of birds. From shoreline mangroves to mountaintop forests of oak, Borneo’s varied environments provide habitats for animals such as the Sumatran rhinoceros, clouded leopard, Malaysian tiger, and monitor lizard. And its thick, deep-green forests provide some of the last habitats in the world for the rare proboscis monkey and the orangutan (which, in Malay, means “man of the forest.”)

Borneo has developed an infrastructure for observing its natural and animal habitats, but without disturbing them. For example, the dense forest features incredible aerial catwalks where one literally gets a bird’s-eye view of this still-primitive world. And well-marked trails lead to gorgeous waterfalls and natural swimming pools at which you’ll probably be the only visitor.  

Park rangers help guests explore Selingan “Turtle” Island, one of the most vital sea turtle conservation centers in Asia. Here, visitors can watch as turtles crawl out of the surf and lay their eggs.

At the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, guests can watch orphaned orangutans being taught skills that will allow them to successfully re-adapt to the wild. It’s a thrilling experience to hear the whooping of the apes as they approach, and to watch as they crash through the jungle treetops to feed at their eating platforms.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: The Wild Jungles of Borneo