Illustration by Dawn Cooper
1. Helmeted hornbill, Paya Maga Highlands
Hunted for its spectacular casque, the helmeted hornbill – the largest member of the family that is found in Asia – lives at elevations of up to 1,500m.
2. Rafflesia, Tambunan Rafflesia Information Centre
Rafflesia © Marek Stefunko / Getty
Parasitic, rootless and leafless, Rafflesia is a genus of plants that includes the species with the world’s largest known flower – blooms of R. arnoldii can reach an impressive 1m in diameter and have a fetid scent that attracts pollinating carrion flies.
3. Proboscis monkey, Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary
Proboscis monkey © Sylvain Cordier / Getty
Remarkable for the size of its nose, the proboscis monkey is increasingly rare and only found on Borneo, though sightings are virtually guaranteed at Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.
4. Pygmy elephant, Danum Valley Conservation Area
Pygmy elephant © Emile Sechaud / Getty
Thanks to low hunting pressure, Danum Valley’s 70m-tall dipterocarp forest is a refuge for large mammals such as pygmy elephants, which are roughly 20 per cent smaller than their relatives living in mainland Asia.
5. Bornean orangutan, Tanjung Puting NP
Bornean orangutan © Anup Shah / Getty
Made famous by Canadian primatologist Biruté Galdikas, who founded Camp Leakey here, the peat swamp forest of Tanjung Puting is one of the best places for sightings of Asia’s gentle great ape.
6. Bornean peacock-pheasant, Sungai Wain Protected Forest
Strikingly beautiful but frustratingly elusive, the Bornean peacock-pheasant is one of the must-see bird species for anyone visiting the island. Sighting it will be a challenge, however.
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