Rich Wildlife At Danum Valley

Posted On November 25, 2009 

Common Info

Danum Valley Conservation Area (area: 438 square kilometres) is located in the Malaysian state of Sabah (Sabah is located in East Malaysia or Malaysian Borneo located on the island of Borneo). It is situated in the protected forest in Borneo. Danum Valley is mainly a rainforest which is far removed from human habitation. It presents one of the world’s most complex ecosystems.

Country Info

Malaysia is located in south-east Asia and has a total area of 3,29,845 square kilometres. The country with 28 million danum valley borneopeople comprises two regions namely Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysia Borneo which are separated by the South China Sea. Malaysia is bordered by Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei. National Capital is Kulala Lumpur.


Danum Valley is covered by tropical forests. The hot and humid jungle has a variety of towering tropical trees, exotic orchids and overhanging epiphytes. The valley is generally hilly with the highest point being Mount Danum which is 1093 metres high. The valley is located on the upper reaches of Segama River and its tributaries. The place enjoys a sunny tropical climate with temperature generally hovering between 75 degree Celcius and 85 degree Celcius. The rainy season lasts from November to February, but is unpredictable.


Danum Valley is known for its rich fauna. Among its animals, endangered species like Sumatran Rhino, Clouded Leopard, Benteng Elephant, Bornean Gibbon, and Leaf Monkey are found here. Besides, the Orangutan and Proboscis Monkey are only found in Borneo. The main animals found in the Danum Valley are the rare Borneab Pygmy Elephant, the Sumatran Rhino and the Sun Bear. Besides, Orang utans, gibbons, and other primates, including the tarsier, deer and wild cats can be seen here. Flying lemur, Slow loris, Giant flying squirrel, Smooth otter, Proboscis monkey are some other attractions.

Sumatran Rhinoceros is the smallest rhinoceros, standing about 120–145 centimetres (3.9–4.8 ft) high at the Sumatran Rhinocerosshoulder and has two horns. Its body is mainly covered by reddish-brown hair. They have fallen prey to poaching and loss of habitats. Sumatra and Malaysia are the last of its few habitats in the world today.

Sun Bears are the smallest forms of bear. The inward-turned feet make these bears walk like pigeon and they are excellent climbers. These bear’s fur is short and sleek and have long tongues to extract honey from beehives.

Borneo Elephants have a controversial history of origin. Many believe they are the extinct elephants of Java which was introduced by the Sultan of Sulu in the Philippines. It is the smallest of the sub-species of the Asian elephant. These are also called Borneo Pygmy Elephants. Records suggest that there are just 1,000 these remarkably passive animals left in Sabah today.

Reaching Danum Valley

The city of Kota Kinabalu (the capital of Sabah) is the gateway to Borneo. The place is easily accessible by Malaysia Airlines from big cities like London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Los Angeles (with connecting flights to all US cities). Lahad Datu, a town in Sabah, is the gateway to Danum Valley and is 55 minute flight from Kota Kinabalu. Borneo rainforest Lodge, the only accommodation facility in the Valley is 2-hour drive from Lahad Datu.

Attractions/ Activities at Danum Valley:
  • Nature orientation course started by Sabah Nature Club
  • Adventure tourism like jungle trekking
  • Wildlife photography
  • Birdwatching
  • Canopy walkways high above the jungle floor to view of the rainforest from the treetops
  • Night safaris
  • Visiting Tabin Wildlife Reserve
  • Tembaling Waterfalls
  • Sungai Purut 7-tiered pools
  • Madai Caves where local inhabitants, the Idahans harvest birds’ nests as one of their delicacies.
  • Rafflesia Hill
  • Rhino Pool
  • Gunung Nicola peak
Birding at Danum Valleydanum valley birds

There are 275 individual species of birds that have been recorded in Danum Valley. Bird life is equally extensive and varied with over 275 individual species having been recorded, giving Danum Valley a reputation for being one of the best places for viewing Borneo’s wildlife.

Types of birds found

Borneo is home to various bird species. Some of its endemic species are:

  • Crimson-headed Partridge
  • Black-breasted Fruithunter
  • Mountain Blackeye
  • Pygmy White-eye
  • Black-Cap White Eye
  • Bornean Blue-Flycatcher
  • Bornean Stub-tail
  • Malaysian Blu-Flycatcher
  • Mangrove Whistler
  • Buffy Fish Owl
  • Helmeted Hornbill
  • Oriental Darter
  • Wreathed Hornbill
  • Dark Throated Bulbul
  • Crested Fireback Pheasant
  • Blue-eared Kingfisher
  • Oriental Cuckoo
  • Rhinoceros Hornbill
  • Lesser Fish-eagle
  • Asian Fairy Bluebird
  • Chesetnut naped Forktail
  • Blue-Banded Pitta
  • Blue-Headed Pitta
  • Borneo Bristlehead
  • Borneo Ground Cuckoo
Birding experience in Danum

The Danum Valley Field Centre offers a magnificent opportunity of bird watching. Well-qualified guides accompany the tourists on various trails and sites to locate the birds and in most cases their expertise and experience will pay off. you want or will find the sites where the birds currently are showing. A minimum stay of three days will be worthy to experience the rich avifauna in Danum Valley. A magnificent setting makes Danum Valley and Borneo Rainforest Lodge a tremendous destination for bird watchers. There is also a self-guided nature trail though tourists are always advised Borneo Rainforest Lodgeto take a guide.


Borneo Rainforest Lodge is the only accommodation facility available at the valley. The lodge is the main venue for ecotourism and was established in 1994. It is a world class lodge situated beside the Danum River, 4 kilometres inside the Danum Valley Conservation Area. The lodge can accommodate 60 people at the maximum and offers a unique wildlife experience inside the Valley. Danum Valley Field Centre is a research establishment for scientific and education purposes.

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