Many animals in Tabin Wildlife Reserve are critically endangered, including Sabah’s three largest mammals: the Borneo pygmy elephant, Sumatran rhinocerous and banteng or tembadu.
Six of Sabah´s eight primates occur here, albeit only small numbers of orangutan, plus various ungulates including sambar, muntjac and mouse deer. The largest predator is the clouded leopard, but there are several smaller carnivores.
Careful thought has been given to developing Tabin as an ecotourism destination to achieve a harmonious balance between nature and humans. In 1998, the government privatised the reserve, and since then the number of visitors has increased. All activities – which include spotting wildlife, jungle trekking and bird watching – are designed to minimise environmental impact, and the facilities are all sustainable.
The rainforest nurtures a colossal number of tropical plants, some of which are of medicinal and therapeutic value. Naturally occurring, mineral-rich, mud volcanoes attract birds, including all eight of Sabah’s hornbills, and animals seeking salt – a bonus to visitors coming in search of wildlife. Tabin can be reached via sealed and gravel roads from Lahad Datu in around 45 minutes, or from Sandakan in around three hours.
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