Borneo, the world’s third-largest island, is home to some of the most spectacular and alluring wildlife on the planet. Much has been written about this fascinating region over the years, from the extraordinary local tribes with their unique customs, to the incredible birds and mammals that still abound in protected areas.
While most people associate the island with vast jungles and rainforest, these habitats are in fact under severe threat, largely due to the flourishing palm oil industry. The planting of palm oil is now big business throughout much of South-east Asia, Indonesia and West Africa, decimating vast expanses of lowland rainforest throughout these regions. Initially used largely in soaps and beauty products, palm oil is now widely found in many processed items, including many of food items that we eat on a daily basis. Take a look at the ingredients the next time you buy ice-cream, granola or a candy bar and get an understanding of just how widely used palm oil is these days. Sadly, the impact of palm oil has been severe on wildlife. Plantations offer very little in the way of food for native species, so the overall numbers of birds, mammals and other wildlife has been reduced dramatically.
It is now widely documented how flagship species like Bornean Orangutan are critically endangered largely because of habitat loss. Fortunately, Borneo has set aside a number of key reserves which act as sanctuaries for many of the island’s outstanding species, including Bornean Pygmy Elephant, our Image of the Month. Many people aren’t aware that elephants are even found on Borneo, let alone that there is a unique sub-species endemic to the island. Most authorities treat the borneensis race as a sub-species of Asian Elephant, although some argue that there is a significant enough difference in genetic divergence to warrant their recognition as a separate species. Bornean Pygmy Elephant are currently listed by the IUCN as endangered, with an overall population loss of more than 50% in the last 60 to 75 years. Disturbing as this may be, Borneo’s elephants are still holding their own in vast areas of wilderness like the Danum Valley, Tabin Wildlife Reserve and along protected zones of the mighty Kinabatangan River.
Rockjumper Wildlife’s fantastic tours to Borneo take in the very best sites of this incredible island, as we explore the depths of the Danum Valley, Kinabatangan River and Tabin in the province of Sabah. We have excellent opportunities of finding a variety of interesting mammals aside from Bornean Pygmy Elephant, including Bornean Orangutan, Proboscis Monkey, Bornean Gibbon, Sunda Flying Lemur (Colugo), Bornean Clouded Leopard, the rare Marbled Cat (seen on our most recent private tour in the Danum Valley), Flat-headed and Leopard Cats, Maroon Leaf Monkey, Bearded Pig, Western Tarsier, Malay Civet, Binturong (Bear Cat) and many others, from various flying squirrels to flying lizards and even flying snakes!
Rockjumper Wildlife’s next Borneo tours are scheduled for June 2019. See below for more details.
Peninsula Malaysia Pre-Tour Extension 2019
6 Jun 2019 – 12 Jun 2019 (7 days)
COST: US$2,850 * €2,560 * £2,290 * ZAR42,130
Borneo – Rainforest Wildlife of Tropical Asia 2019
12 Jun 2019 – 20 Jun 2019 (9 days)
COST: US$5,350 * €4,800 * £4,300 * ZAR79,070
*Alternate currencies are for comparative purposes only