Only in BorneoBorneo is conservatively estimated to hold 222 mammals (including 44 endemic – not found anywhere else in the world), 420 resident birds (37 endemic), 100 amphibians and 394 fish (19 endemic).
Borneo has a cat species unique to the island, the bay cat, which is considered one of the rarest cats in the world. 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 reptiles and amphibian species.
At least 15,000 plants, of which 6,000 are found nowhere else in the world, grace the swamps, mangroves, and lowland and montane forests of the island. The Heart of Borneo is home to approximately 10,000 of these.
What accounts for Borneo’s huge 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 have been found in just 1 tree.
They are also home to thousands of plants, lichens and fungi, which in turn form the base of a food chain that nurtures a wide array of species. This web of life is at the heart of the Borneo tropical rainforests.
Borneo, a science magnetBorneo has lured scientists for over 150 years, and has played a key role in the discovery of evolution. Notably, 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, and the latest research suggests that they will continue doing so for decades to come - if the forests are not wiped out by deforestation.
Where to look for rare wildlife in BorneoThe place that holds the largest potential for new discoveries is the Heart of Borneo, as it harbours large, and more importantly, continuous tracts of virgin montane forest, many of which remain unexplored.
The montane forests of Borneo form high altitude islands in a sea of lowland dipterocarp forests. As a result of 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 compared to similar ones elsewhere.