Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Taman Negara: Oldest Rainforest on the Planet

In the middle of the Malaysian peninsula lies a rainforest so old it makes the entire Amazon jungle seem like new growth. Taman Negara, literally ‘national park’ in Malay, has lain virtually undisturbed for 130 million years. Located as it is in the centre of the equator, even ice ages left barely a dent in this ancient jungle.

Not surprisingly, the flora and fauna of Taman Negara are 
unrivaled; 14,000 species of plants, 200 mammals and 240 types 
of trees can be found in a mere hectare of this lush rainforest. And 
with travel within the park limited to jungle tracks and riverboats, 
much more may still be waiting to be found.

One of the colourful fungi that sprouts on decaying trees. Prior
to the Jurassic period, the entire Malay peninsula was submerged
underwater. As a result, sedimentary rock and limestone make up
the fertile base of Taman Negara and its interesting cave system. 
Most of Malaysia’s fossils have also been discovered within the
limestone of this national park. 

A perahu brings visitors to their jungle accommodation:
Winding through Taman Negara and serving as its main highway
is the Tembeling River and its tributaries the Tahan, Trenggan and
Kenyam. Wooden river boats known as ‘perahu’ ply the waters, 
transporting people and supplies as they have done for hundreds of 
years. Human habitation along the river can be dated back nearly 
2,000 years, bronze artifacts having been found along the river.

A close-up look at the perahu:
Living within the rainforest are Malaysia’s earliest inhabitants, 
or Orang Asli, meaning original or native people. The Orang Asli 
of Taman Negara are of the Negrito group, who have burial sites
in Malaysia dating back 10,000 years.

An Orang Asli village, which can be quickly dismantled when 
they are ready to move on The Orang Asli live in settlements of about 
ten to thirty people. In the rainforest, they still live in hunter gatherer 
societies, in harmony with nature. When they have almost depleted the 
section of rainforest they live in, the Orang Asli move on and give the
jungle time to rejuvenate.

Orange Asli women and children come down to the river to bathe
and fish The Orang Asli believe that only animals living above ground
are best for consumption, so they hunt birds, squirrels and monkeys.
Hunting was originally done with bows and arrows but nowadays the 
Orang Asli find blowpipes more effective. The darts of the blowpipes are
tipped with the poisonous sap of the Ipoh tree (Antaris toxicaria). They supplement their diet with fish and jungle fruits.

A pet bearcat relaxes in an Orang Asli village Far outnumbering 
the human inhabitants are the flora and fauna of Taman Negara. 
Within the park boundaries there are tigers, Malayan tapirs, elephants, 
wild boar, various species of deer, leopards, sun bears, civets and wild ox.

The strikingly coloured Malayan Tapir, one of the animals found
in Taman Negara Add to this between 200-300 species of birds and 
thousands of insects making their lives on the jungle floor. Taman Negara has 
one of the richest ecologies on earth, protected both by its impenetrability and Malaysian law.

A Streaked Spiderhunter, a species of bird common in the Malaysian 
rainforest These days, increasing numbers of tourists visit the national 
park although, perhaps fortunately, numbers are still regulated by transport restrictions. Although many hope to catch a glimpse of the larger mammals, 
most of these remain well hidden in the jungle depths.

A Barking Deer, so named for its strange calls Visitors can, however, 
still experience the wonder of being in an ancient rainforest and take 
walks along jungle paths either on the ground or from hanging bridges
in the trees.


  1. Thanks for sharing. I share with other on FB.

    1. Ma pleasure... btw thnx 4 sharing too...:)


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