Malaysia’s Most Unique Animals and Where to Find Them
Malaysia is one of Southeast Asia’s most popular tourist destinations. But, while Kuala Lumpur’s iconic Petronas Towers are pretty amazing, one of the biggest attractions to this country is the wildlife, especially in Malaysian Borneo.
Borneo is a wildlife enthusiast’s dream. With world class dive spots, island turtle sanctuaries, and plenty of lush jungle, you are pretty much guaranteed to see some amazing creatures. One of the best spots for wildlife tourism is along the Kinabatangan River which runs through Sabah. Here, travelers have the opportunity to see three of Malaysia’s most unique animals: the orangutan, the proboscis monkey, and the pygmy elephant.
Wild Orangutans can only be found in two places in the world; on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Malaysian Borneo is probably the most popular place to see them as it is possible to come across these primates in the wild, or visit them at the Orangutan Sanctuary located in Sepilok.
Orangutans can live up to 50 years in the wild however, as is the case for many animals, their forest habitats are quickly being destroyed. Not only is this a risk to the orangutan species, but the decrease in these primates also puts the environment at risk as well. Orangutans are nicknamed ‘the gardeners of the forest’ as they play a roll in seed dispersal. This makes them vital not only for the forest but also for the species within it including rhinos, elephants, tigers, and even the local humans.
The funniest looking monkey around is the proboscis monkey. Made easily recognizable by their absurdly long noses, this primate can only be found in the wild on the island of Borneo. Proboscis monkeys live in unison with their fellow primates, the Orangutans, and as such also suffer from the risk of losing their homes due to deforestation.
Proboscis monkeys can always be found within about a kilometre from a water source. They are actually quite good swimmers (both above and below water) and can frequently be spotted swimming across rivers.
Borneo Pygmy Elephant
With their round bodies, baby faces, and overlarge ears, the Borneo pygmy elephant just might be the cutest elephant you’ll find. These elephants are the smallest in Asia and can only be found in Borneo. However due to deforestation and elephant-human conflict, this species is dwindling in numbers. It is thought that there are only about 1500 Borneo pygmy elephants in the wild.
Despite being an endangered species, the Borneo pygmy elephants are the least understood elephants in the world. WWF has taken charge on several initiatives to help protect and preserve these species. If you do manage to see one in the wild, know that you are very privileged.
Without a doubt Malaysia has some incredible animals, and although the species listed above are quite unique, there is plenty more wildlife to be found in this country. If you love the idea of being able to see these animals in their natural habitats, here are five tour options that will give you the chance to see some of Malaysia’s awesome wildlife: