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BAKO NATIONAL PARK

It is hard to believe that Bako is one of the smallest national parks in Sarawak. With its rainforest housing interesting plant life and abundant wildlife, an extensive network of trekking trails leading to jungle streams and waterfalls, secluded beaches with a panoramic rocky shoreline… if Mother Nature were to seat herself on the coastline of Borneo, Bako would probably be her womb.

Guarding the coastline of the Bako National Park were hard and porous rock formations that is a making of over millions of years. These rock formations are known as sandstones, the result of particles cemented together over the millenniums. During the Miocene Period, 23 million years ago, geography shifted in Sarawak like a quiet earthquake, uplifting rocks to form hills and mountains before they eroded away with the winds and waves. These erosions patterned the sandstones with cliff faces, honeycomb weathering, solution pans, iron skins, iron veins, sea arches and sea stacks.

Established in 1957, Bako National Park is Sarawak’s oldest national park, covering 2,727 hectares of land at the tip of the Muara Tebas peninsula. It is hard to believe that Bako is one of the smallest national parks in Sarawak. With its rainforest housing interesting plant life and abundant wildlife, an extensive network of trekking trails leading to jungle streams and waterfalls, secluded beaches with a panoramic rocky shoreline… if Mother Nature were to seat herself on the coastline of Borneo, Bako would probably be her womb.

Back in the olden days, the rainforest is like a shopping mall for the locals, where anything from food to medicines can be found with every step you take. Such natural medicines like Labisa Pumila (locally known as Kacip Fatimah, a female version of Tongkat Ali) that help in getting women back in shape after giving birth, by tying the roots with ginger roots and garlic roots around the waist for 40 days; and the Durian Antu (Ghost Durian Tree) that got its name because it is empty on the inside, and the locals believe that the ghosts have feasted on the flesh.

Bako National Park has a lifelong reputation in wildlife preservation and protection, and it is probably the best place in Sarawak to experience wildlife up close and personal.

Hidden underneath the camouflaging trees were the Proboscis Monkeys (Nasalis larvatus), the most prominent and an endemic species found only in Borneo, grunting strangely and crashing tree branches above. They are odd-looking creatures covered in reddish-brown fur with grey limbs and a white tail. The male Proboscis is easily identified with its huge pendulous nose and large pot-belly, which – believe it or not – are attractive assets to their female kind! Proboscis Monkeys can weigh more than 20kg and has an appetite the size of a cow. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach; it sure is the case for this primates.

The Long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis) are much easier to spot, as they loiter around anywhere and everywhere that has the slightest hint of food. They are fearless monkeys that will raid dustbins and chalet kitchens, and at any given opportunity, they will snatch unguarded food on the table. On the contrary, the Silvered Langurs (Trachypithecus cristatus) are docile and attractive creatures with silver-grey fur and a spiky crest of head hair, whilst the infants are covered in bright orange fur.

If you hang around longer in the Park, and go deeper into the forest, you might be lucky enough to spot other wildlife animals like the Bornean Bearded Pig (Sus barbatus), Bako’s largest mammal distinguishable from its prominent bristles; the Oriental Small-clawed Otter (Aonyx cinerea) and the Hairy-nosed Otter (Lutra sumatrana), delightful creatures found hanging in the waters and mangroves feeding on fish, frogs and other small animals; reptiles like the Common Water Monitor (Varanus salvator), the Green Crested Lizard (Bronchocela jubata), the Flying Lizard (Draco volans) and Wagler’s Pit Viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri); as well as up to 190 bird species to spot around the Park.

There are also nocturnal creatures like Slow loris, Western tarsier, mouse deer, flying lemur, pangolin and various bats; creepy crawlies like spiders, glow worms and fireflies; and sea creatures like mudskippers, sky-blue fiddler crabs and shell-dwelling hermit crabs.

There are 18 trails to experience all sides of Bako: ranging from the 30-minute Tanjung Sapi trail (0.5KM) with a breathtaking view of the South China Sea and Mount Santubong, to the whopping 7-hours-and-15-minutes Telok Kruin trail (10.5KM) that finishes off at a secluded beach that is one of the best in the Park.


source : virtualmalaysia.com