Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Rainforest Discovery Centre

The Rainforest Discovery Centre was set up as an organization for environmental education in 1996.  This centre is situated close to the town of Sandakan in Sabah and is located within the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, which also hosts the famed Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. The centre was opened to the public in 2007.
The Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) is managed by the Sabah Forestry Department and it endeavors to educate visitors about Malaysia’s expansive, animal and plant-life rich rainforest terrain.
The RDC has three main sections, the main visitor’s building, the Rainforest Discovery Trail and the Canopy Walkway.

Main Visitor’s Building

The main visitor’s building host several exhibition halls that are filled with informative displays of the native flora and fauna that populate the rainforests of Borneo. At the main building you will learn be acquainted with animals like the Pygmy elephants of Borneo, an endangered species usually found near the Kinabatangan River in the Sukau district of Borneo.
Much information is also provided about the numerous, multi-hued bird species which are found in the many rainforest areas of Borneo, for instance around Mount Kinabalu.  Butterflies, insects, reptiles and various other creatures resident in the Malaysian rainforests feature prominently in these displays. Aside from exhibits, the main visitor’s building also hosts a kid’s corner, which offers information about rainforests specifically targeted towards children, a gift shop and a lecture hall.

The Rainforest Discovery Trail

The Rainforest Discovery trail leads visitors through the Centre’s Plant Discovery Garden and then onto the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve. Visitors are encouraged to engage the services of a guide from the Centre before embarking on the trail. The guide helps visitors identify various native rainforest plants and trees along the trail.

The Canopy Walk

The Canopy Walk at the RDC is located halfway along the Rainforest Discovery trail and is accessible by climbing up a steel tower called the Bristlehead Tower, christened after the rare Borneo Bristlehead Bird. The fourth floor of this steel tower leads on to the Canopy walk. The steel canopy walk measures 147 meters in length and is located at a height of 28 meters from the rainforest floor. Unlike other canopy walkways which are usually fashioned out of rope, this sturdy canopy walkway is built for high traffic. It is no wonder that it is a favored spot for bird watchers, who head here to observe the more than 250 species of birds resident in the rainforests of Borneo.
In fact the RDC is the official venue for the annual Borneo Bird Festival and attracts the participation of birding enthusiasts from all over the world

If you are a nature lover, then you can’t afford to miss out on the fascinating attractions served up by the Rainforest Discovery Centre. Moreover, the Centre is easily accessible via a short taxi ride from the town of Sandakan in Sabah.  So if you are planning a sojourn in Sabah do make sure you include the Rainforest Discovery Centre within the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve in your itinerary.

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