Borneo, perhaps one of the last true nature paradise destinations, also happens to be the third largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. Located in Southeast Asia’s Malay Archipelago, this rugged, shockingly beautiful island doubles as a biodiversity epicenter. Hidden among its mysterious ancient rainforests are magical wildlife such as orangutans, sea eagles, clouded leopards, pygmy elephants and endangered sea turtles.
Capturing all our favorite Borneo wildlife images is Natural Habitat Adventures expedition leader Gavin Lautenbach, who himself is a passionate naturalist and conservationist. The following are some of our favorite photos by Gavin of animals you can see in the wild in Borneo.
Observe adorable orange orangutans as they live and move freely in their natural rain forest habitat, and learn about efforts to conserve them at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center.
Malayan Sun Bear
The vulnerable sun bear, which is the only bear native to Southeast Asia, takes its name from the arch-shaped golden patch on its chest, which legend says represents the rising sun. This cute nocturnal creature that spends most of its time foraging for fruits, roots, insects and small animals, is also known as the ‘honey bear’ due to its voracious appetite for honey comb.
As WWF describes this adorable creature, “Walt Disney himself couldn’t have crafted a cuter elephant. The pygmy elephants of Borneo are baby-faced with oversized ears, plump bellies and tails so long they sometimes drag on the ground as they walk.” You too can scout for pygmy elephants swimming and playing in the Kinabatangan River.
Endangered Sea Turtle
Take a boat ride to uninhabited Selingan Turtle Island along the Malaysian and Philippine boundary in the Sulu Sea to explore one of the endangered sea turtles in one of the three main turtle nesting sites in Borneo. This is a true sanctuary, protecting a gentle creature currently on the brink of extinction by trawling, coastal development and consumption. You can sea them swim ashore, babies being hatched and released into the sea.
Proboscis monkey. The rare proboscis monkeys are at home in coastal mangroves where hornbills and sea eagles soar above. If you are lucky enough to spot one you may find yourself having a good chuckle, as this funny looking, long nosed monkey is almost cartoon-like in appearance.
Explore the best of wild Borneo while learning about conservation efforts to protect these and other precious creatures with WWF at Natural Habitat Adventures.