Saturday, November 21, 2015

How Eco Tourism Is Saving Sabah’s Wildlife

The Malaysian state of Sabah sits on the northern tip of Borneo. It’s an island rich in biodiversity, and it’s this biodiversity that attracts so many visitors to Sabah, but it’s now more endangered than ever before.

The rainforests here are home to truly unique creatures including orangutans, sun bears, proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants and Sumatran rhinos.

But these creatures are rapidly losing habitat, which is being taken over at a rapid pace by our appetite for Palm Oil.

Sabah is also home to some of world’s best snorkelling and diving. The Sipadan Barrier Reef, on Sabah’s east coast, is the largest barrier reef in South East Asia, and boasts the highest marine biodiversity on the planet. Over 2000 species of fish have been identified here.

But current levels and methods of fishing in this region are not sustainable. Large parts of the reefs have fallen victim to dynamite fishing and enormous numbers of sharks have been harvested to satisfy the world’s appetite for shark fin soup.

It’s not all bad news though. In Malaysia tourism is fighting back. Most of the tourism operators in Sabah are very environmentally aware, and are at the forefront of initiatives to conserve it. Here are a few of the best.

Shangri-La Rasa Ria

The orangutan sanctuary at Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort is well known, as is the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre which the resort also assists.

These sanctuaries play an important role in highlighting the plight of these adorable creatures, our closest primate relatives, and contribute to fund-raising efforts.

The sanctuary was opened in 1996 and works together with the Sepilok Orangutan sanctuary over in Sandakan and Sabah Wildlife, to help raise and rehabilitate orphaned orangutans.

Orangutans are solitary creatures, and young are raised by their mothers for at least 7-8 years before they are able to take care of themselves. These orphans need to be taught the basics of orangutan life, like how to climb and forage for food.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: How Eco Tourism Is Saving Sabah’s Wildlife