Borneo wildlife | WWF

Borneo wildlife

Found only in Borneo
Borneo is estimated to be home to around 222 mammals (including 44 endemic – meaning they are not found anywhere else in the world), 420 birds (37 endemic), 100 amphibians and 394 fish (19 endemic).
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Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmeus pygmeus) and her baby in Betung Kerihun and Danau Sentarum national parks' corridor in West Kalimantan, Indonesia.
© WWF-Indonesia/Jimmy Syahirsyah
Just in the Heart of Borneo, a 220,000-km2 region in the mountainous centre of the island, there are 10 primate species, over 350 bird species, and 150 reptile andamphibian species.

At least 15,000 plants, of which 6,000 are found nowhere else in the world, can be found in the swamps, mangroves, and lowland and montane forests of the island. The Heart of Borneo is home to around 10,000 of these.

Borneo’s incredible biodiversity

Borneo’s tropical rainforests and climate provide the ideal conditions for a wide variety of species to thrive. Dipterocarp trees hold the greatest insect diversity on Borneo - as many as 1,000 species can be found in just 1 tree.

They are also home to thousands of plants, lichens and fungi, which form the base of a food chain that nurtures a wide array of species. This web of life is at the heart of Borneo’s tropical rainforests.

Borneo’s role in the discovery of evolution

Borneo has lured scientists for over 150 years, and has played a key role in the discovery of evolution. Alfred Wallace's theories of natural selection were inspired by his travels on the island in the 19th century.

Since that time, scientists have busied themselves discovering and naming new species. The latest research suggests that they will continue doing so for decades to come - if the forests are not wiped out first.

Finding rare wildlife in Borneo

The place that holds the largest potential for new discoveries is the Heart of Borneo. It harbours large and continuous tracts of virgin montane forest, much of which remains unexplored.

The montane forests of Borneo are like high altitude islands in a sea of lowland dipterocarp forests. Due to their isolation, these places harbour a unique and rich selection of species from Asian and Australasian families, making Borneo's montane habitats some of the most diverse on Earth.

More information on Borneo’s wildlife:

On average, around 3 species are discovered every month in the Heart of Borneo

Between 1995 and 2010 over 600 species have been discovered - that is 3 species each and every month.

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	© WWF/CK Yeo
Eight-banded barb (Eirmotus insignis), discovered in 2008 in Kalimantan, Borneo. The remarkably striking zebra-striped fish has been mostly recorded from the middle Kapuas between the towns of Sanggau and Putussibau, Kalimantan, in the Heart of Borneo. One of 17 fish discovered in the Heart of Borneo in recent years, the eight-banded barb measures around 3.6cm, and typically inhabits slow-moving, shallow, shady rainforest streams and swamps. The water in this habitat type is often murky, with substrate composed of mud or fallen leaves, twigs and branches. Such environments are also often dimly-lit due to the rainforest canopy above. The fish were found sheltering among overhanging tree roots and aquatic vegetation. It is noted as something of a shy, reluctant feeder.
© WWF/CK Yeo

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