Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Emma's Travel Journal: Borneo – 12 days in Sabah’s Lower Kinabatangan

What better way to conclude my travelling other than in my favourite country with my favourite primates?

I spent 12 days in Sabah’s Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary on a project facilitated by APE which stands for ‘Animal  Projects and Environmental Education’.

They are a Malaysian organisation which endeavor to improve the prospects for endangered animals in Malaysia.

Primarily Orangutans, Sun Bears, Pygmy Elephants and Sea Turtles.

They’re a small organisation which carry out crucial conservation work in the Lower Kinabatangan.

What’s great about the APE project is that its core values centre on grassroots development, involving the local people alongside responsible volunteering at the heart of their conservation strategies, one of the many reasons why I felt that my work had such a big impact on the village and rainforest.

Where is the Kinabatangan?

Borneo is the largest island in Asia, with mainland Malaysia to the west and Indonesia surrounding the island west, south and to the east.

Contrary to popular belief, Borneo is not a country and is actually made up of three countries; Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia.

I spent my time in the northeast of the island in Sabah in a small village around 3 hours from the main airport called Sukau along the River Kinabatangan’s Corridor of Life.

This area is particularly important as it is an area which was once heavily logged and cleared for palm oil plantations, therefore requires habitat restoration in order to restore the corridor to allow wildlife to move freely and migrate from coastal mangrove areas in  the deeper parts of the rainforest.

What did I do?

Each team that arrives every month has the responsibility of first clearing weeds and grasses from around the bases of saplings planted 3 months before, followed by clearing of a new site which they will then plant new saplings in.

Therefore, slowly reforesting where the rainforest has become fragmented from logging or clearance for palm oil plantations, allowing orangutans and monkeys to move easily through the forest.