In Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, the most famous indigenous mammal is the orang utan (Malay for "person of the forest"). Sabah is an ideal place to view these wonderous apes, both in the wild and in the world-famous orang utan sanctuary at Sepilok. Sabah also has 10 species of primate, including the endemic big-nosed proboscis monkey, small but acrobatic tarsiers, slow lories, langurs, leaf monkeys, long and short tailed macaques and gibbons.
Amongst the most elusive but exiting mammals to be found in Sabah is the endemic Borneo Elephant which is a subspecies (one of 7) of the Asian Elephant, and a different species to the only other species of elephant, the African elephant. The Bornean Rhinoceros, a sub-species of the Sumatran Rhino was considered extinct 20 years ago, but recently WWF caught video footage of this elusive species, scientists estimate that there could be only between 20 and 50 left in the world. Along with the Clouded leopard, the Bay Cat and the Civet Cat, these ancient mammals share the jungle habitat with Sun Bears and Banteng (wild ox), amongst many others. Although many of the more endangered species are very rarely spotted it is possible to view, photograph, and film mammals in the various wildlife reserves, such as the Kinabatangan, Tabin or the Danum valley, where there are accommodations and guided tours.
Other fascinating species common to Southeast Asia but found in marshlands and fields, rather than in the rainforest, are Water Buffalo or Kerbau (in Malay). Domesticated and docile the kerbau is often used by farmers to plow the fields. In the tropical waters around Sabah there are dolphins, best spotted around Sipadan island, and also dugong or 'sea cow', which can be found at Mantanani.
If you are a wildlife enthusiast Discover Borneo can create holidays to bring you up close with mother nature and experience the beauty of Malaysian Borneo.
SABAH & SARAWAK PLACES OF INTEREST FOR PRIMATES AND WILDLIFE
Kinabatangan River Wildlife
The Kinabatangan River is one of only two known places on Earth where 10 primate species can be found (a list which includes the beautiful borneo Orang Utan, as well as Proboscis Monkeys and Bornean Gibbon). A trip to the Kinabatangan from Sandakan usually includes the Gomantong Caves, as well as Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre where orphaned orang utan are cared for until they can be released back into the wild.
Sepilok is famous for its Orang Utan. The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is situated in the Malaysian Sabah District of North Borneo. The site consists of 43 sq km of protected rainforest, which lies within the boundaries of the Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve. The facilities primary purpose is to provide medical care for orang utans, which have been orphaned in the wild or that have been confiscated from people keeping them in inadequate captivity.
This amazing wildlife rehabilitation centre was established back in 1975 with the main purpose is to rehabilitate injured or orphaned wild animals taken out from the jungles all over Sarawak. Eventually, these animals will be released back to the wild. Just like what you can witness in Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary in Sabah, this wildlife centre is not a city zoo showcasing exotic animals in captivity.
The three largest mammals of Sabah, namely Borneo Elephant, Sumatran Rhinoceros and Tembadau (Bos javanicus) is all found within the reserve; nine species of primate are present, as well as three species of cats all of which are on the protected wildlife list.
The lowland rainforest is home to many species of primates and mammals. Orang utans, gibbons, and other primates, including the tarsier, as well as deer, wild cats and the rare Bornean Pygmy Elephant may be seen. Other notable species that inhabit the Danum are the Sun Bear and Sumatran Rhino.
The Garama River is the best place on the West Coast of Sabah to see strange-looking primates. As these primate sleep in trees by the riverside, a river cruise in the early morning or late evening is a good way to catch sight of these primates found only in Borneo. Besides the proboscis monkey, two other species of primates can be seen on the Garama River.
Bako National Park Wildlife
Long-tailed macaques, silver leaf monkeys, common monitor lizards, plantain squirrel, deer is all found here. The largest mammal found at Bako is the Bornean Bearded Pig. Bako is also home to approximately 150 rare proboscis monkey, found only in Borneo.
The Santubong offers a fascinating wildlife. Proboscis monkey is often seen along the Santubong mangrove swamp. If you're lucky enough you may spot the rare Irrawaddy Dolphins too.