Thursday, September 13, 2012

Danum Valley Conservation Area

Danum Valley Conservation Area is one of the last remaining pockets of protected primary lowland tropical rainforest in Asia and is one of the world’s great storehouses of genetic diversity.

In the early 1960s, between the fading years of the British rule and the promising years of Sabah's independence through a merger with independent Malaya, soil surveyors first carried out soil studies in Danum Valley. They observed that there was an abundance of wildlife and diverse forest types and then recommended setting up a wildlife sanctuary within. In 1976, the Sabah Natural Parks Board sponsored a scientific expedition into Danum Valley, which was funded by the World Wildlife Fund. The report recommended that Danum Valley should be converted into a natural park. Luckily, in 1980 the Sabah Foundation retained the Danum Valley as a centre for conservation where natural flora and fauna will be preserved for the purposes of research and education. In 1986, the Sabah Foundation officially opened a scientific field study center, Danum Valley Conservation Area, in the eastern part of Danum Valley. In 1996, the protective status of Danum Valley was further enhanced when it was announced as a Protection Forest Reserve. Danum Valley holds a unique status in the sense that before it became a protected area there were no human settlements within the area, meaning that hunting, logging and other human interference was non-existent.

It is a pristine rugged terrain that carpets 438 square km of Malaysian Borneo; it is bordered by the Danum and Segama Rivers and a vast timber concession area. Its immense size makes this area the largest lowland reserve in Malaysia and boasts the world’s most complex ecosystem.

The 60 million year old rainforest preserves many flora and fauna species found only in Borneo; over 200 species of tree per hectare thrive here. A Dipterocarp forest covers over 90% of the area that can grow to an amazing height of 70m.

This virgin rainforest is home to more than 300 species of birds including the endemic Bornean Bristlehead, Bulwer’s Pheasant, Bornean Ground-Cuckoo, Bornean Wren-Babbler, Black-throated Wren-Babbler and Dusky Munia, just to name a few. It is also home to all eight species of the Bornean Hornbills and six species of Pitta, including the impressive Giant Pitta. Also calling Danum Valley home are 75 types of reptiles, 40 species of fish, 56 species of amphibians, and 110 species of mammals. A few of the mammals include the Clouded Leopard, Borneo Pygmy Elephant, Sumatran Rhino, and Sun Bear. Also included are 5 species of Deer (including the Yellow Barking Deer, the Mouse Deer, and the Sambar Deer).

In Danum Valley you can see the nocturnal Tarsier – one of Sabah’s cutest mammals that is 13 cm in length with a tail nearly twice its length, enormous eyes, soft velvety fur and webbed feet. Though very,  tiny it is one of Sabah’s strongest mammals. Almost every single Borneo primate species can be found in Danum Valley such as the Orang Utan and Proboscis Monkey with the exception of the Silver Leaf Monkey.

Arthropods form by far the most diverse group at Danum with perhaps as many as 15,000 species. These species include 600 varieties of moths, more than 350 butterfly species, tens of thousands of beetle species, with flies and wasps also being extremely species rich. With all of this to behold you can see why Danum Valley has a reputation for being one of the best places to view and photograph Borneo’s extensive wildlife.

Striking rivers and waterfalls thread throughout the park including Tembalang Falls, and Sungai Purut which is a spectacular waterfall 20m tall with 7 tiered pools making it a destination not to be missed.
 
For the bird lovers there is a 170m long 27m high canopying walkway that offers a peek into abundant bird life in the tropical jungle. Gunung Danum or Mt. Danum at 1093 metres is the highest peak in the Danum Valley Conservation Area. Trekkers preferring a leisurely hike could take the 3 days 2 nights’ trip. However, hard core trekkers take only about 4 hours to reach Gunung Danum. In the park there are over 50km of marked trails for visitors to hike.

In order to fully appreciate Danum Valley’s richness it is advised to stay in The Borneo Rainforest Lodge that has 24 chalets that house 31 twin-sharing rooms. All rooms have a private bathroom with hot shower and a balcony. These comfortable and environmentally friendly chalets are designed like local village houses on stilts overlooking Sungai Danum in the midst of the teeming jungle. They are made up of local “belian” (ironwood) and stones from the nearby rivers. The main building with a spacious lobby that overlooks the forest is the ideal place to have your meals and compare notes on the day’s findings. There is a bar for those who like to enjoy a drink or two. Borneo Rainforest Lodge amidst the tranquil tropical forest is nature at its best.

Another overnight option is to stay at the Danum Valley Field Center which gives preference to researchers but if others can stand its studious, if sparse atmosphere, there may be a spot for you (depending on the management’s mood and the relations with the BRL). The accommodation is a separate male female dormitory with bunk beds and cold water showers. They offer a communal lounge and dining area at a budget price.

Danum Valley is about 80 kilometres southwest of Lahad Datu, Sabah's fourth largest town and lies within the upper reaches of Sabah's second largest river, the Segama, and its tributaries. Remote from human habitation and almost alien to modern civilization makes the Danum Valley a naturalists’, nature lovers and ordinary travellers paradise.


Source : sensiborneo.com
Pictures source : flickr.com (samjawed65)

4 comments:

Batresiah said...

Tempat ini adalah tempat yang menarik untuk dikunjungi di Negeri Sabah ini.

Borneo Native said...

lawatan pasangan diraja britain ke lembah danum merupakan satu pengiktirafan dunia atas usaha2 konservasi hutan datuk musa aman..

Anonymous said...

The Danum Valley Conservation achievement has even gotten the attention of the British Royal couple.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work on the research of flora and fauna as well as educating the public.

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