Have you ever dreamt to go to the wilderness in South Africa and drink in the majestic creatures of the savannah? Or do you write diving with marine animals in beautiful island destinations such as the Maldives on your bucket list? If you have thought of travelling overseas to enjoy the nature and its fauna, why not check out the beautiful beings just in our own local backyard?
Most of the animals found locally are often threatened by the rapid deforestation. Moreover, the loss of food sources and shelter often lead to their declining population. Hence, many species are thought to go extinct if no one does anything about this.
However, not all is lost in Malaysia. Local authorities, researchers and many non-governmental organisations (NGO) are currently involved in the conservation of these precious animals. You have also certainly been on an ecotourism trip before. Don’t think so?
Do fireflies and dolphin sightings, snorkelling and scuba diving, bird watching and night trekking ring a bell? All these often bring more attention to the conservation of Malaysian living treasures. You can also do your part by being aware of their existence and take steps to protect them.
Choose to take up packages with those operators doing their best to protect the very animals providing them with a livelihood. Take only memories and leave only your footprints behind. Volunteer if you have time and donate if you prefer. These are all easy steps for you and your family and friends to continue seeing these adorable and beautiful mascots of Malaysia listed here:
Known for its large nose, the proboscis monkeys are excellent swimmers. You can only see them in coastal swamp forests such as in the National Park of Bako.
Secondly, currently found only in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra, the orangutans are charismatic creatures. The only great ape on the Asian continent, it is also known as the gardener of the forest for aiding in the seed dispersal within the forest.
Next, these elusive shy marine mammals are found in the waters off the Johor, Sabah and Sarawak. The herbivorous dugongs graze on underwater beds of seagrass.
If you are lucky, you can see some humpback river dolphins when you’re at Kuala Sepetang, Perak. They have either white or pinkish skin.
Known for the white sandy beaches and beautiful islands, you can also see turtles of four species in Malaysia. From leatherback and green turtles to hawksbill, and Olive ridley turtles, they are wonders to watch.
Surprisingly, corals are actually animals but have a unique relationship with photosynthetic algae living in their tissues. This leads to the beautiful corals you often observe.
Banteng is a species of wild cattle found in Malaysia. Though looking similar to domesticated cattle, they have distinctive white markings on their feet and rump.
Now, the main difference between banteng and gaur is the peculiar humpback. Besides, this huge-sized bovid roams the forests and grasslands of Southeast Asia.
The Malayan tapir is the largest of five species of tapir in the world. It’s also the only one native to Asia.
In Peninsular Malaysia, Peninsula Malaysia is home to the mainland Asian elephant roams its forest. It’s smaller than its African counterparts.
Meanwhile, over in Borneo, the forests are the home to the so-called pygmy elephants. They are usually shy and avoid people.
Famous for its role in the Malaysian folktale of Sang Kancil, the small creature can only be found in Malaysia, Borneo and parts of Indonesia
Found throughout Southeast Asia, Sunda pangolin is also known as the Malayan or Javan pangolin. Among the world’s most harmless and strangest mammals, it’s now a totally protected species as it’s often caught and smuggled by poachers.
The arboreal Malayan flying lemur is herbivorous and known for its gliding ability.
This large flying fox, also called the large fruit bat, lacks the ability to echolocate. However, it compensates with its well-developed eyesight.
Being the only species of wild pig in Borneo, the Bornean bearded pigs display one of the most spectacular natural phenomena rarely seen in forests. That is they migrate over long distances just like the great herds of zebras in Africa.
An important symbol for tribes in East Malaysia, hornbills are the only birds with eyelashes. There are eight species of hornbills in Sarawak alone, thus the name “The Land of Hornbills”.
This beautiful bird species is endemic to Peninsular Malaysia, meaning it is only found here. They are usually found in the lowland forests.
Oriental Bay Owl
This adorable owl has a heart-shaped facial disk which collects sound waves. It usually lives close to water.
The smallest of all bears, sun bear has a voracious appetite for honeycombs and honey.
For your information, this majestic animal inhabits the southern and central parts of the Malay Peninsula. Now critically endangered, the Malayan tiger is a national icon of Malaysia known to represent bravery, strength and grandeur.
On the other hand, this voracious animal is both the largest of all living reptiles and the largest riparian predator in the world.
The smallest of the living rhinoceroses and the only Asian rhino with two horns, Sumatran rhinos was declared extinct in the wild in Malaysia in 2015.
One of the most talented climbers among the cats, Bornean clouded leopards can be found in Sabah and Sarawak. On another note, their counterparts, the clouded leopards are found in Peninsular Malaysia.
Further down the list is the elusive canid predator. The Asian Wild Dogs are native to Central, South and Southeast Asia.
Also known as the Bearcat, binturong has scent glands under its tail used to mark territories. In contrast, to humans, it probably smells the same as buttered popcorn. Its prehensile tail can grasp at things just like its limbs.
Lastly, don’t forget to scout for more information on these living treasures of Malaysia the next time you’re travelling locally. Who knows you will be able to boast of your knowledge to your fellow travellers? So remember to let’s enjoy and protect these wonders together!