Borneo Elephants

Borneo elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis) is a subspecies of elephant found in northeastern Borneo. Their origin is a matter of dispute – there have been suggestions that the mammal was introduced to the tropical island from peninsular Malaysia, but there are zoologists who believe that they developed separately from other Asian elephant species. As just about any large animal on the world’s third biggest island, these elephants are threatened due to shrinking rainforest which is apparently disappearing at a rate of 300 football fields every single hour! The forst is replaced with palm oil plantations, a monoculture made up of a foreign tree species that was introduced to Borneo from Africa!

We came across these two mother-baby pairs one late afternoon in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in the Malaysian state of Sabah. They walked out of the forest facing the late afternoon sun which gave us an excellent opportunity to photograph them. They were part of a larger group of around 20 elephants which grazed in the same area every day during our stay. We had seen another group of Borneo elephants a few days earlier during a river safari on the Kinabatangan (which was an incredible experience). As we were told repeatedly, we were very lucky indeed as we just happened to be at the right place at the right time – several days in a row!

 

Borneo elephants

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