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Logging has become an important source of income in the 1900’s and clearing of Kinabatangan River bank creates another great place for agriculture such as palm oil plantation.  But it was a threat to the habitat for many rainforest species. In that period itself, forest fires occurred during the dry weather resulted unhealthy air conditions, which further stressed the biota and rainforest habitats.  The local Governments are now monitoring and enforcing laws more strictly in order to prevent the rainforest destruction.




The lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary was announced as a “Gift to the Earth” by the Chief Minister of Sabah on November 16, 1999 and also giving its commitment to fully gazette and protect the 26,000 hectares of wetlands as wildlife sanctuary.  On January 15, 2002, Sabah’s Chief Minister launched “Kinabatangan - A Corridor of Life”. The Lower Kinabatangan wildlife Sanctuary is gazetted as a Bird Sanctuary under the State Land Ordinance. A second gazettement under the Wildlife Conservation enactment is under way to turn it into a permanent wildlife sanctuary to be managed by the Sabah Wildlife Department. 



Flora and Fauna


The Kinabatangan is one of only two known places on earth where 10 primate species can be found. These include the orang utan, long tail macaques, pigtail macaques, silver leaf monkey and several species that are endemic to Borneo, such as the Proboscis Monkey, the Maroon Langur and Bornean Gibbon. It is believe that the hunted Estuarine Crocodile - the largest crocodile species in the world - has become extremely rare, but can still be seen along the riverbanks.




The area is inhabited by at least 50 mammal species, and also serves as home to rare and endangered animals such as the wild Asian Elephant and possibly the Sumatran Rhino, which is on the verge of extinction and was last recorded in the area in 1993. Others that recorded are Bearded Pigs, rare oriental small-clawed otter, moon rats, Island flying fox, small bats, lesser mouse deer, prevost’s squirrel, Malay badger, binturong and civet cat.





Much of the Kinabatangan remains a mystery. Sharks and rays, usually thought of as sea creatures, live in freshwater in the Kinabatangan but little is known about them. The plant and animal life along the river has yet to be fully studied.


Patient visitors will be rewarded with the sight of hornbills and orangutan, and occasionally with glimpses of crocodiles or herds of elephant.



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