What can one say about Malaysian Borneo?
It certainly a biologist’s dream to see one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots and most diverse tropical forests. To spend hours hiking around and experiencing the diversity of plants, insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals all while keeping a sharp eye to spot the legendary Orang-utan. But it’s a dream that constantly turns into a nightmare because of massive palm oil plantations that have desecrated natural ecosystems.
East Malaysia has a unique relationship with its development of palm oil and conservation. It’s hard to see where to draw the line between economic growth and conservation. Even though much of the eastern part of Malaysia is now dominated by palm oil, the pockets of biodiversity that do exist are such magnificent remnants of nature, it would be foolish for a traveler to pass them up. The organizations and people behind the national parks, conservation areas and sanctuaries are everyday heroes that work hard to ensure that protected land and species remain safe and undisturbed by human development.
As for West Malaysia, I haven’t stopped by yet. But I’m sure it will be a grand old adventure!