Alaungdaw Kathapa

Kaeng Krachan

Khao Yai


Muong Nhe

Taman Negara

Reserves For The Corbetts Or Indo-Chinese Subspecies

Taman Negara

Malaysia's Taman Negara is made up of the oldest rainforest in the world, older than either the Amazon or the Congo. This has been undisturbed for in excess of 130 million years. Covering an area of 4,343 square kilometres, the park was first protected by legislation in 1925 when 1,300 square kilometres was set aside as Gunung Tahan Game Reserve; thirteen years later it became the King George V National Park. When Malaysia gained its independence in 1938 the area was extended to its present size and renamed Taman Negara. Its stated purpose is the "propogation, protection and preservation of the indigenous flora and fauna."

Though the park caters heavily for tourism, amongst other things it has six wildlife hides over salt-licksand a "Resort" section, the vegetation is so very dense that the animals are only rarely seen. It's quite possible to spend a week in this park and not see anything more exciting than mosquitos, leeches, and a steaming pile of elephant dung.

But hiding somewhere are wild ox, gaur (dark in colour apart from white ankle socks), sambar, barking deer, mouse deer (not much larger than a rabbit), wild pigs, tapirs (related to horses and rhinos, though more pig-like in appearance), elephants, clouded leopards, leopard cats, smooth otters, tigers, sun bears (these feed on fruit, honey, termites, and the occasional human), Sumatran rhinoceros, civets, Asian elephants (smaller ears and more hump-backed than African elephants), bats, nocturnal civets (these often enter hides and beg for food off tourists), several squirrel species, a wide variety of monkeys, vast numbers of reptiles and amphibians, and 250-300 species of bird. Refreshingly, this is one National Park where the list of flourishing animals just goes on and on. This is, by far, Malaysia's most important protected area and significantly, "Taman Negara" simply means "the National Park".

Malaysia is the only Asian country which has had significant impact on poaching. From 1972-1976 around nineteen tigers per year were slaughtered across Malaysia; this has now been reduced to just one. But the popularity of National Parks such as Taman Negara has bought other problems. A small number of nomadic Batek live and hunt within Taman Negara and the authorities turn a blind eye to their activities. They stay in one place only a matter of days, then move on, collecting and hunting as they go. Some even work for the park authorities and the presence of this small group is seen as a minor threat, but one which is best ignored.

The major problem is tourism. Over 30,000 people per year now descend on the resort section of this park. With them has come erosion, rubbish on major trails, and the migration of large mammals away from the noisier 'Resort' areas which has unbalanced the ecology. As hoof stock take refuge deeper in the forest so the tigers will follow, effectively leaving sections of the park quiet and perhaps practically devoid of wildlife. A natural response will be to boost tourism by following the animals deeper into the park; this becomes a vicious circle which can quickly undo all the benefits provided by National Park areas. At the present time, malaysia's handling of their National Parks and wildlife shows a growing awareness to prevent issues of this type ever developing.

Corbett Tiger Reserves - Alaungdaw Kathapa | Kaeng Krachan | Khao Yai | Lomphat | Muong Nhe | Taman Negara

Origin | Project Tiger | Releasing Captive Tigers | The Tale Of Tara | Taking A CensusPost Mortems
Tiger Reserves: Amur | Bali | Bengal | Caspian | Corbetts | Javan | South Chinese | Sumatran

Wild Tigers Index | Home

Photography With Thanks To John White (Photos 2, 4)
Dan Cowell (Photo 3)
 © All Rights Reserved. Displayed here with permission, for educational, non-profit purposes.