Jun 3, 2008

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Rare Species Animals From Borneo

Borneo, the third largest island in the world, was once covered with dense rainforests. With swampy coastal areas fringed with mangrove forests and a mountainous interior, much of the terrain was virtually impassable and unexplored. Headhunters ruled the remote parts of the island until a century ago.

Borneo's forests are some of the most biodiverse on the planet. According to WWF, the island is estimated have at least 222 species of mammals (44 of which are endemic), 420 resident birds (37 endemic), 100 amphibians, 394 fish (19 endemic), and 15,000 plants (6,000 endemic) -- more than 400 of which have been discovered since 1994. Surveys have found more than 700 species of trees in a 10 hectare plot -- a number equal to the total number of trees in Canada and the United States combined.

Several distinct ecosystems are found across Borneo. These are reviewed in WWF's " Borneo: Treasure Island at Risk" report (2005).


BORNEAN CLOUDED LEOPARD (NEOFELIS DIARDI)
A rare and reclusive leopard that hunts among the dense island forests of Borneo and Sumatra in south-east Asia has been identified as an entirely new species of great cat.

Genetic tests and pelt examinations have revealed that the animal, now called the Bornean Clouded Leopard (Neofelis diardi), is as distinct from other Clouded Leopards that roam mainland Asia as lions are from panthers.



THE PROBOSCIS MONKEY
The greatest concentration of wildlife in Borneo, is found near Sandakan, along the lower regions of Sabah's biggest and longest river, the Kinabatangan. Orangutans, macaques, red and silver leaf monkeys, elephants, birds, eight species of hornbills, crocodiles, civet cats and otters are found in this region, but the most famous and most bizarre animal is the Proboscis monkey (a primate found only in Borneo). With its huge pendulous nose, a characteristic pot belly and strange honking sounds, it is one of the most peculiar and ugliest (or beautiful???) animals in the world. There is only one species of the proboscis monkey, Nasalis larvatus. The distinctive physical feature from which this monkey takes its name is the long pendulous nose of mature males. The Proboscis monkey is found only in the coastal areas of Borneo and the Mentawai islands west of Sumatra living in coastal mangrove swamps and riverine forests on the lower reaches of major rivers coastal and mangrove forests.



BORNEO RHINO

Mysterious, often unseen, and very low in numbers, two of the three Asian rhino species hover on the brink of extinction

Historically hunted for their horn, a prized ingredient in traditional Asian medicines, and devastated by the destruction of their lowland forest habitat, Asian rhino populations are now distressingly small. These animals are among the world’s most endangered, with one species numbering only around 60 individuals. Throughout their range, their habitat continues to dwindle fast due to illegal logging and other human pressures, and the threat of poaching is ever-present.



Borneo pygmy elephants are smaller than other Asian elephants. The males may only grow to less than 2.5 meters, while other Asian elephants grow up to 3 meters. They also have babyish faces, larger ears, longer tails that reach almost to the ground and are more rotund. These elephants are also less aggressive than other Asian elephants.





ORANGUTAN
The orangutans are two species of great apes known for their intelligence, long arms and reddish-brown hair. Native to Indonesia and Malaysia, they are currently found only in rainforests on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, though fossils have been found in Java, Vietnam and China. They are the only surviving species in the genus Pongo and the subfamily Ponginae (which also includes the extinct genera Gigantopithecus and Sivapithecus). Their name derives from the Malay and Indonesian phrase orang hutan, meaning "man of the forest". The orangutan is an official state animal of Sabah in Malaysia.



RHINOCEROS HORNBILL (BUCEROS THINOCEROS)
Hornbills are large, black or brown, and white, mainly arboreal birds, with long, heavy bills. Many species have large protuberant casques on top of the bill which may be gaudily coloured. Hornbills are found throughout Africa and tropical Asia, and throughout Indonesia to New Guinea. They eat fruit and insects and have harsh, penetrating calls.

The nesting habits of the family are interesting. The incubating females are usually sealed into tree hole nests with mud, leaving only a small aperture through which food can be passed by the male. When the young are hatched the female breaks out but reseals the nest entrance again until the young are ready to leave. Ten species of hornbill occur in Sumatra, eight in Borneo, but only three are found in Java.




RAFFLESIA - The Worlds Largest Flower
Rafflesia are endemic to Southeast Asia recorded 17 known species, the Rafflesia flowers have been found only in Indonesia - Sumatra and Java, Malaysia, including Borneo island and south Thailand. Rafflesia have small, brownish, scale like leaves and fleshy, foul-smelling flowers of various sizes from few inches to meter big in diameter. Rafflesia classified as parasite, which means it just takes the nutrient out of its host.

The Rafflesia can be found at altitudes of between 500 and 700 meters in the forests of Malaysia, Southern Thailand, Sumatra and Java in Indonesia. In these tropical rainforests, the climate is continuously warm and humid, with very high humidity. The Rafflesia is rare and fairly hard to locate. It is especially difficult to see in bloom; the buds take up to 10 months to develop and the blossom lasts for just a few days. However, how many these strange plants are survived in primary rainforest is still unknown.