Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Pristine National Parks in the Land of the Hornbills

Just got back after spending 5 ½ incredible days in Sarawak observing nature. During this period, we stayed in two national parks and visited three others before ending our trip at an ultra swank nature friendly five star resort that only serves organic vegetarian meals.
Our first stop was Kubah National Park, which is about 20 km from Kuching. Kubah was gazetted as a national park in 1989, and was only opened to the public in 1995. The park consists largely of undisturbed forest, and is home to a variety of wildlife, including bearded pigs, black hornbills, mouse deer, squirrels and numerous species of amphibians and reptiles.
At the western corner of Kubah is the Matang Wildlife Centre, which houses endangered wildlife. The center houses Orang Utans and other wildlife, and is used as a research center. Matang serves as a holding centre for confiscated and surrendered animals in Sarawak. Where possible, the animals are rehabilitated and released into the wild or semi-wild conditions as part of conservation efforts for threatened wildlife.
From Kubah, we made our way to Bako National Park, Sarawak's oldest national park, covering an area of 2727 hectares at the tip of the Muara Tebas Peninsula. The park has been a protected area since 1957, and is probably the best place in Sarawak for wildlife experience.
The park is home to a number of species that are highly endangered such as Proboscis Monkey, Silvered Leaf Monkey or Silvered Langur, and the Bornean Bearded Pig. Bako is also home to a number of snakes, most of which are harmless. The park is also a great place to bird watch as there are over 150 species here. Bako never sleeps in the night, nocturnal creatures such as the Colugo (Flying Lemur), Pangolin, Mouse Deer, various bats, Tarsier, Slow Loris and Palm Civet are about.
On the way to Borneo Highlands Resort, we dropped in at Semengoh Orang Utan Sanctuary located in Semengoh Forest Reserve, Sarawak's oldest forest reserve to view rehabilitated Orang Utans that have been released into Semengoh. We were fortunate enough to have the dominant male of Semongoh drop in at the 3 pm feeding. Then we headed to our final destination for some pampering in the form of luxurious accommodations and organic vegetarian food before our flight home to Singapore the next day.
Happy Earth Day! Do your part in conservation.

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