Borneo is one of the largest islands in the world and home to the world’s largest independent rainforests. Because of its relativel isolation, at least until the 20th century, Borneo boasted one of the best preserved natural environments anywhere. Sadly, this has changed dramatically over the last few decades, and development and industry are deforesting the island at breakneck speed. Despite this, the Malaysian territory of Borneo is still considered to be one of the top destinations in Australasia to see animals in the wilderness, and almost every major species of Oceania can be found here.
Traditionally, the island of Borneo has had a sparse population, with most people clustered along the coastlines, especially in the north. This continued well into the colonial era, with little effort made to penetrate the mountainous and heavily jungled interior. Because of this local wildlife populations tended to flourish here when huge damage was being done in nerby Southeast Asia and India. Today, conservationists are racing to establish reserves to protect local wildlife from succumbing to human encroachments.
It used to be that in Borneo one need walk outside to see wildlife everywhere. While that is no longer the case, the island is still home to species including the Asiatic Elephant, Sumatran Rhinoceros and Bornean Clouded Leopard. The island’s most popular resident is the Bornean Orangutan, and it is one of the last major homes for this endangered species.
Malaysian Borneo stretches across the north side of the island of Borneo. The interior areas in the southeast, where wildlife viewing still remains at its best, is 280 miles west of the provincial capital of Kuching and 180 miles south of the neighboring city-state of Brunei. It is an open site, with safari and eco companies offering tours to areas where wildlife is prevalent. Web: www.sabahtourism.com (official tourism website of Malaysian Borneo).
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