MALAYSIA

 

Peninsular (or West) Malaysia straddles the equator, stretching from the Thailand border in the north to Singapore in the south. To the east, 600km (370 miles) across the South China Sea, is East Malaysia, comprising the states of Sarawak and Sabah in the northern part of Borneo & bordering Indonesia, Brunei, and the South China Sea

 

Together they constitute the country of Malaysia which consist of 13 states, such as Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Penang Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Terengganu , Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Labuan.

 

Malaysia has a total area of 330,000 sq km with coastal plains terrain rising to hills and mountains. Itís highest point is Gunung Kinabalu at 4100m in Kota Kinabalu (East Malaysia) and the second highest is Gunung Tahan at Taman Negara, Pahang (Peninsular Malaysia)

 

Malaysia experiences a tropical climate with annual southwest monsoons (April to October) and northeast monsoons (October to February). Forty-seven percent of Malaysia is forested, with a total forest area of approximately thirty-seven million acres.

 

Malaysia has a population of 24.4 million comprising of various ethnic groups. The ethnic groups in Malaysia are Malay 50.4%, Chinese 23.7%, Indigenous 11%, Indian 7.1%, others 7.8% and they practice religions like Islam (official religion), Buddhism, Daoism, Hinduism, Christianity, Sikhism and others. Bahasa Malaysia is the official language, English, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow) and Tamil are widely spoken by the respective races. Other spoken languages are Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai as well as several indigenous languages; most widely spoken are Iban and Kadazan in East Malaysia.

 

Some of the international environment agreements signed by Malaysia includes Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94.

 

For more information : www.tourismmalaysia.gov.my

 

Tourism in Pahang

The State of Pahang, the biggest State in Peninsula Malaysia boasts of having the highest mountain, the largest river, the biggest lake and the oldest rainforests in Malaysia:-  Mount Tahan - highest mountain in Peninsula Malaysia, Pahang River - largest river in Malaysia, Taman Negara National Park - oldest rainforests in the world, Lake Bera - biggest natural lake in Malaysia

 

Ecotourism

Taman Negara Canopy Walk

PAHANG

GEOGRAPHY

Pahang, which covers an area of 35,960 sq. km, is the largest state in Peninsular Malaysia but only with a population of 1 million. 

 

Geographically diverse, Pahang ranges from mountainous country in its west to its coastline in the east. It adjoins the South China Sea for a distance of 208 kilometers. Terengganu and Kelantan bound the State on the north, by Perak in the west and by Selangor and Negeri Sembilan to the southwest. Johor forms the State's southern boundary.

 

Of the total land area of the state, 48.8% is covered by forest, 23.4% is agricultural land, 16.3% is government land, 10.8% is urban and industrial land, 0.5% is Orang Asli (Aborigine) Reserve and the remaining 0.2% is mining land.

 

Malaysian jungles is one of the most ancient on the planet, far older than the equatorial forests of the Amazon or the Congo.

 

During the Ice Age, immense glaciers, that kept the global climate cool, covered much of the Earth. Consequently many of the planet's tropical rain forests could not evolve until the glaciers have receded completely.

 

Malaysia's tropical forests, however, were blessed with being located far away from the ice and thus enjoyed over 130 million years of uninterrupted ecological development and Taman Negara National Park is where this piece of natural haven is preserved.

 

TOURISM

From the tourism aspect, Pahang is blessed with cool green highlands, tropical rain forests, coastal fringe dotted with tranquil fishing villages, and long stretches of sandy beaches, remote islands, mysterious caves and unspoilt lakes.

 

With a population of 1 million, the State, which lies on the East Coast, offers the finest in beaches such as the famous Cherating Beach, Teluk Chempedak and Beserah Beach. There are the renown hill resorts of Cameron Highlands, Genting Highlands and Fraser's Hill in West Pahang. If you are looking for adventure, there are parks such as Kenong Rimba, Endau-Rompin and Taman Negara (National Park).

 

ORANG ASLI (NATIVES)

The Bateks are an indigenous ethnic minority of living in the lowland tropical forests of Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu states of Malaysia. These hunter-gatherers traditionally live in camps that are connected by a series of extensive "pathways" that cut across walking trails, rivers and logging roads, aided by a knowledge of the forest passed down from one generation to the next.

Marine Life

As the largest island among the Redang Archipelago, Pulau Redang is not only made famous by its white sandy beach but also the world lying beneath this crystal clear water which, is not only paradise for marine life but also for natural lovers. Snorkeling or diving in the sea around Pulau Redang is a breathtaking experience where, the water surrounding Pulau Redang is home to some 3,000 species of fish, 1.000 of species of bivalves and 500 species of reef-building coral.

 

Rivers & Lakes

Tasik Bera is important for its biodiversity. This is Malaysia's largest natural lake. It is a shallow, seasonal, riverine lake system that flows into the Pahang River (Peninsular Malaysia's longest river). It is home to 94 fish species, approximately 200 bird species; and endangered reptilian species such as the Malayan False Gharial (a freshwater, fish-eating crocodile), the totally protected Striped Giant Soft-Shelled Turtle & Malayan Giant Turtle.

 

Wildlife

There is an abundance of wildlife in Malaysia's tropical forests. Asian elephants, tigers, sun bears, tapirs, rhinoceroses (an endangered species) and a variety of deer species are some of the large mammals to be found in Malaysia. Other endangered species are the orangutan and three of the protected gibbons species.

 

Snakes are abundant with over 100 species, including pythons and the king cobra. Crocodiles and other amphibians,

 

Rainforests

In order to safeguard its precious natural heritage, Malaysia has set aside many areas as parks and wildlife reserves. Together with natural forest management, conservation of wildlife, birds and marine life, nature reserves have been established through a network of protected areas.

 

Almost one and a half million hectares of conservation areas are protected by legislation.

 


FLORA AND FAUNA IN MALAYSIA

 

Plants

Being a tropical country, Malaysia is overwhelmingly green. Located a few degrees north of the Equator, the constant high temperatures, saturating humidity and frequent rainfall are all ensuring a verdant landscape. Malaysia's natural forests cover almost three quarters of the land, an area equivalent to almost the entire United Kingdom. One can walk for hundreds of miles under a continuous canopy of green, marveling at an abundance of plant and animal species, a country with riches equaled by almost no other location in the entire world. The variety of Malaysian flora is stunning - there are 8000 species of flowering plants, which include 2000 tree species, 800 different orchids and 200 types of palm trees. However, this variety pales in comparison to the profusion and diversity of birds and insects.

 

Mangrove-forested wetlands prevail on the Peninsula's west coast. They also dominate much of the Sabah and Sarawak coastline. The east coast is renowned for its long sandy beaches and offshore islands, such as Tioman and Redang, which boast crystal-clear waters and virgin rainforests. The mountain ranges of Titiwangsa and Crocker are providing a temperate climate for tea plantations and market gardens.

 

Animals and birds

The islands of Borneo, Sumatra and Java together with the Malay Peninsula stand on a shallow submarine continental extension called 'The Sunda Shelf'. Faunas that have much in common inhabit these territories The endlessly varied environment of Malaysia shelters a host of the world's rarest and most remarkable animals: the Sumatran rhinoceros, elephants, crocodiles, the clouded leopard and the Malaysian tiger, the sun bear, the monitor lizard, macaques, red and silver leaf monkeys and the orangutan are just a few examples. There is also an abundance and variety of bird populations that can be found in East Malaysia. The lowland forests of Malaysia are crucial for the continued survival of myriads of wildlife animals.

 

Borneo is the greatest concentration of wildlife. It is home to about 40 mammals that are endemic to this area. The ancient rainforest here is housing an abundance of peculiar and wonderful animals: tiny mouse-deers the size of cats, owls, which are just fifteen centimeters high and many species found nowhere else on Earth, such as the shy proboscis monkey, or the gentle orangutan. The most famous and bizarre animal is the proboscis monkey. With its huge pendulous nose, a characteristic potbelly and strange honking sounds, it is one of the most peculiar animals in the world. There is only one species of the proboscis monkey and it is found only in Borneo.

 

Turtles

A village on the eastern coast of the Peninsular Malaysia Rantau Abang is one of only six places in the world where the increasingly rare Giant Leatherback Turtle comes to lay its eggs. These giant turtles are returning to the same beaches year after year, between May and September. Turtle watching is an exciting and enthralling sight. Watchers are laying in wait quietly from midnight to dawn to observe these huge, ponderous Leatherbacks laying their eggs.

 

The leatherback is the largest living turtle; it is 1.5 to 2.5 meters in length and weighs about 400 kg. This turtle is so distinctive that it is placed in its own separate family. Its carapace is slightly flexible and has a rubbery texture, making it different from all other sea turtles, which have bony hard plates on their shells. The front flippers of a leatherback are unusually longer than those of other marine turtles, even when you take the leatherback's size into account. The flippers of adult leatherbacks can reach up to 270 cm in length. Leatherback hatchlings look mostly black when you are glancing down on them, their flippers have white stripes. These giant turtles feed on jellyfish.

 

Today leatherbacks have been added to the country's protected species list. Driftnets have since been banned from being used by fishermen in the area. Also measures aimed at preventing theft of leatherback eggs, which fetch a good price on the market, are enforced. Despite being legally protected, these giant reptiles still face many threats. For example, desolate beach areas, where they would lay their eggs are shrinking. The polluted sea, where they would often mix plastic litter for jellyfish, also endangers their survival. To halt the decline of the number of the Giant Leatherback Turtle, hatchery work is carried out. Their eggs are collected into a hatchery for a period of about 55 days. Upon hatching, baby turtles are released back into the sea. 

 

Rafflesia

Rafflesia is the world's largest flower weighing about nine kg and is almost one meter wide. Seven out of fifteen world's Rafflesia species can be found in Malaysia, within four of them endemic to this country only.

 

The Rafflesia is a disembodied parasitic flower. It is totally dependent on one particular vine called Tetrastigma. A rootless, leafless and stemless parasite, it drains nourishment and gains physical support from its host vine. The only body outside the flower consists of strands of fungus-like tissue that grow inside the Tetrastigma vine. It first manifests itself as a tiny bud on the vine's stem. Over a period of 12 months, it swells to a cabbage-like head that bursts under the cover of a rainy night to reveal this startling, lurid-red flower. Beauty turns beastly in only a few days. The Rafflesia blossoms only for 5 to 6 days, than the petals blacken and the flower withers. The "flowering beast" begins to smell like rotting meat, attracting blue bottle flies for pollination.

 

This Rafflesia is found in lowland forests in Peninsular Malaysia and in highland areas of Sabah and Sarawak. Most species of Rafflesia are highly localized and are therefore vulnerable to extinction because of habitat disturbance and host cutting. Its long-term survival is seriously threatened also by the depletion of the Malaysian rainforest. For this reason this rare and beautiful flower is under state protection. Several protected areas of the Rafflesia natural habitat include Kinabalu Park and Crocker Range Park in Sabah and Gunung Gading National Park in Sarawak.

 

Orangutan

Freshwater swamps and lowland forests of Borneo and Sumatra are the natural habitats of orangutan. The name of this animal derives from the Malay language meaning 'man of the forest'. This cute and intelligent primate is one of the most interesting animals in the world and usually attracts human curiosity. One can find much common in behavior and even appearance when comparing humans and orangutans.

 

Orangutans have reddish-brown fur ranging from bright orange with the young to dark brown with some adults. Adults have black faces; the young have pink muzzles and pink skin around their eyes. The adult male is usually shorter than an average man, but is much stronger, heavier and has very long arm span (up to 2.5m). A male can weigh as much as 110 kg, it is the heaviest tree dwelling mammal. A female is just one meter high and weighs about 40 kg. The brain of this extraordinary ape is very large for its size. They are highly intelligent and resourceful, capable of amazing feats of memory and learning.

 

Orangutans live among the trees but are too heavy to perform acrobatics and antics of other monkeys. The orangutan is the most introverted and antisocial of the great apes. Orangutans live solitary almost nomadic lives, spending most of the time on their own. Even if a group assembles in a well-stocked fruit tree, they take very little notice of each other. Only the young seem to enjoy playing with each other and indulging in mock fights. Each day orangutans build an up to a meter wide nest of twigs, leaves and branches, where they will sleep during the afternoons or retire for the day. Their diet consists of tropical fruits, such as mangoes, lychees, durians and figs. They also eat leaves, barks, ants, termites, fungi, honey, bird eggs and handfuls of soil.

 

Orangutans have not any known enemies apart from man. Although protected by law, they are still under threat from human activities - the most dangerous being the destruction of the orangutan's forest habitat and the illegal pet trade. Captive orangutans command high prices, not so much as pets but for zoos and experimental laboratories. Today there are less than 30,000 orangutans left in the world and their reproduction is very slow. Rehabilitation centers have been set up at Ketambe in Sumatra and at Sepilok in Sabah, where illegally domesticated orangutans are retrieved from their owners and only after successful rehabilitation are released back into the wild. Their ability to lead an independent life in the wild is largely a matter of education passed on from the mother. Unfortunately, many of these young orangutans were fostered by man and would, therefore, soon die, if released into the jungle without previous rehabilitation.

 


           
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