Friday, March 15, 2013

Wildlife in Malaysia

Malaysia is made up of two main regions, which are separated by the South China Sea, the Malay Peninsula, attached to the Asian mainland and Malaysian Borneo which includes the states of Sabah and Sarawak. Both these regions of Malaysia feature different environments like ancient virgin rainforests, peat swamps, dense mangrove forests and montane alpine vegetation.
These varied lands are home to much rich biodiversity and it is estimated that the country is home to approximately 210 species of mammals, aside from more than 600 species of birds and over 200 species of reptiles. The Malay Peninsula which hosts one of the oldest and largest rainforests in the world, the Taman Negara Park is home to several endangered species like the Asian elephant, tapirs (a pig-like mammal), hornbills, gaur and bearded pigs.
Sabah and Sarawak have their own share of exotic Malaysian wildlife species in the form of Malayan sun bears, Bornean pygmy elephants, Bulwer’s pheasants, the comical and endangered proboscis monkeys, orangutans and red banded langurs and many more.
Rapid industrialization and population growth over the years has resulted in the shrinking populations of these indigenous forms of Malaysian wildlife, so much so many of the above mentioned species have now been classified as ‘endangered’ though Malaysian government is now making a concentrated effort to conserve the native Malaysian wildlife, so future generations can continue to be acquainted with them.
You may then ask the question, where in Malaysia we can view the exotic creatures that typify Malaysian wildlife. Luckily Malaysia has several national parks that give visitors a chance to do so.  Some of the animals and their current habitats are listed below-:
The Malayan Tiger
The Malayan Tiger has been a symbol of bravery, strength and grandeur in Malaysia for years. Once found in abundance in the jungles of Peninsular Malaysia, the Malayan tiger numbers have dwindled alarmingly. Today the Malayan tiger is found in protective habitats like nature reserves and national parks. Parks like Taman Negara,  Krau Wildlife Reserve (both in Pahang), Endau-Rompin National Park(Johor) and the Royal Belum State Park( Perak) offer sightings of this majestic beast.
The Proboscis Monkey
The Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary which is privately owned and set amongst the dense mangrove forests of Semawang near Kota Kinabalu , is  a prime viewing spot to get up close and personal with this odd creature. The Proboscis Monkey is found only in Malaysia and the males of the species are especially known for their comical appearance. These male monkeys sport big dangling noses, pot bellies and have reddish flattop coiffures. The females of the species are more normal looking  and have upturned noses.
The Orangutan
Various nature reserves in Malaysia give visitors a chance to meet with an adorable, Asian primate, the mild-mannered, fuzzy red -haired orangutan. The Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre which was set up in 1964 by the Wildlife Department of Sabah to rehabilitate orphaned baby orang utan is one such refufe.  Today this facility which is located in the midst of the leafy Kabili-Seplok Forest Reserve is visited by both visitors and researchers who want to observe these creatures at close quarters.
Another such nature reserve is located on Pulau Orang Utan, a 35-acre island situated near the Bukit Merah resort in Perak.
The Asian Elephant
The  Teman Negara national park is believed to have the largest population of elephants in South East Asia.


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