Teeming with wildlife, the Rainforest of Malaysian Borneo is home to the Bornean Pygmy Elephant, 10 species of primate including the Bornean Orang-utan and Proboscis Monkey, and more than 600 species of birds, eight of them belonging to the hornbill family.
Find out how World Land Trust (WLT) is supporting conservation in this extraordinarily biodiverse forest…
There are more than 74,000 acres (30,000 hectares) of forest under protection in the Lower Kinabatangan floodplain, but these reserves are fragmented and under threat from the expansion of agriculture, namely oil palm production.
Since 2008, WLT and its project partners have been working to secure strategically vital areas of forest to create wildlife corridors and to connect fragmented patches, ensuring that a continuous, protected habitat exists for wildlife and local communities.
Other projects in Malaysia:
WLT is raising funds for strategic land purchases in Borneo and has already secured two important corridors, the Kretam-Kulamba Corridor and a first corridor in the Kinabatangan Floodplain. Together, the corridors total 894 acres (362 hectares).
Working with project partners, WLT is now focusing on a third Orang-utan corridor, the Keruak Corridor, which will link a part of Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary (LKWS)to Keruak Forest Reserve.
Working with local people:
In addition to securing corridors, by working in partnership with Hutan, WLT has helped fund land protection and the development of management plans for the land saved. Hutan works with local communities to manage lands purchased with WLT funding, and to encourage sustainable, traditional practices such as the collection of wild fruits and medicinal plants.
Protecting the Kinabatangan's forests also conserves traditional fishing grounds close to the banks of the Kinabatangan River, maintaining livelihoods and an important food source for local families.
Hutan employs 50 local people in its research, habitat restoration and education teams and the NGO has also established an Honorary Wildlife Warden Scheme, jointly set up with the Sabah Wildlife Department. WLT is funding one of Hutan's Honorary Wildlife Wardens through our Keepers of the Wild Appeal.
Thanks to very generous support from donors over recent years WLT has successfully raised funds to protect two corridors as safe havens for Orang-utans and other threatened wildlife. But as more and more forests in Borneo are being cleared for oil palm plantations urgent funding has never been more needed than now.
Borneo's vast biodiversity boasts:
15,000 species. Over 60 per cent of plants found in Borneo are endemic to the island, and over 360 new species to science have been discovered in recent times.
222 species, including:
- Bornean Orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus) classified as Endangered by IUCN. An estimated 1,000 individuals are resident within the Lower Kinabatangan floodplain.
- Nine other species of primate are found in the Kinabatangan area: Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis lavatus); Western Tarsir (Tarsius bancanus); Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis); Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca nemestrina); Hose's Langur (Presbytis hosei), Silvered Langur (Trachypithecus cristatus) and Maroon Langur (Presbytis rubicunda); Bornean Gibbon (Hylobates muelleri) and Slow Loris (Nycticebus menagensis).
- Bornean Pygmy Elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis) classified as Endangered by IUCN. An estimated population of 300 individuals is found within the Lower Kinabatangan Floodplain.
A total of 622 species of birds have been recorded in Borneo, of which 434 breed on the island and 39 are endemic. In Sabah about 526 species have been documented of which four are only found in this state. The Kinabatangan region of Borneo is an incredibly rich area for bird life and 189 species have been recorded here.
- Borneo's eight species of hornbill can all be found in the Lower Kinabatangan, including the Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros) and Helmeted Hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil).
- Kinabatangan is an important site for several globally threatened waterbirds. The Storm's Stork (Ciconia stormi) is classified as Endangered by IUCN and Borneo’s last viable population of the Storm’s Stork is found in the Kinabatangan wetlands.
Reptiles and Amphibians:
More than 250 species have been recorded.
- Running out of time: the relentless expansion of oil palm production means that a lack of time is a real threat to the conservation of the Bornean Rainforest.
- Forest destruction: primarily due to clearing forest for oil palm plantations, forest is being cut down to meet the global demand for palm oil.
- Extinction: habitat loss on this scale could lead to the extinction of many of the island’s ‘flagship’ species. Worst-case scenarios indicate that if forest destruction continues the Orang-utan will face extinction.
So far WLT has helped HUTAN secure the following areas to protect vital habitat for Orang-utans and other threatened Bornean wildlife:
- Kretam-Kulamba Corridor – an area of 672 acres (272 hectares) in NE Borneo.
- Lower Kinabatangan Floodplain – a 222 acre (90 hectare) wildlife corridor has been secured so far.
- Two smaller properties - these will contribute towards safeguarding future wildlife corridors in the region.
- Keruak Corridor – the subject of WLT's current urgent appeal. More about WLT's Borneo Rainforest Appeal: aiming to raise One Million pounds »