In the spirit of Malaysia Day, let’s appreciate our unique flora and fauna by learning about them, and visiting them when possible! Did you know that Malaysia is one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world?
Geographically, two-thirds of our land is covered in forest, and is home to about 20% of the world’s animal species, some 15,000 species of vascular plants, 2,000 tree species, as well as 3,000 species of orchids alone, with more to be discovered! While we couldn’t possibly list them all, let’s get to know six of Malaysia’s flora and fauna. Make way for more ‘did you know’ questions!
Also known as the national animal of Malaysia, the Malayan tiger is originated from central and southern Peninsular Malaysia.
This majestic animal symbolises our nation’s pride and strength, appearing on the country’s coat of arms, the heraldry of the Royal Malaysia Police, as well as the logo of Malaysia’s first national car company, Proton, and Malaysia’s universal bank, Maybank.
Not to forget, our national football team, Harimau Malaya, is also named after the Malayan Tiger!
Unfortunately, the Malayan Tiger is now classified as ‘Critically Endangered’, under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
State governments are urged to take action in protecting and preserving the Malayan tigers and their habitats. You can also learn more about The Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia’s (PERHILITAN) ongoing campaign to save our Malayan Tigers at https://harimau.my/. Join the effort by spreading awareness!
The national bird of Malaysia is none other than the Rhinoceros Hornbill. This beautiful, large arboreal hornbill is also the state bird of Sarawak, also known as Bumi Kenyalang, or the Land of the Hornbills.
Out of the 54 species of hornbills throughout the world, 10 can be found in Peninsular Malaysia while eight can be found in Sarawak alone, hence the name.
For the native Dayak people, hornbills are considered sacred and symbolic to the spirit of God, so the figures and statues of hornbills are often incorporated in their celebrations and festivities, as well as their arts and culture.
P.S. Did you realise that our national bird is printed on the 5 Malaysian Ringgit banknote?
Get up close:
Try birdwatching at Endau-Rompin National Park, Johor/Pahang, or Santubong National Park, Sarawak.
Orangutans, or directly translated from the Malay language to ‘forest person’ (orang = person, utan/hutan = forest) are the natives of the island of Borneo. More specifically, Bornean Orangutans are residents of our rainforests in Sabah and Sarawak.
This intelligent great ape shares about 97% similarity to our DNA! Interestingly, their average number of infants is only one and their reproductive rate is low because the infant will rely on its mother for survival until it reaches sexual maturity, which can take between 12 to 15 years!
Get up close:
Meet the world’s largest tree-living mammal at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Sabah.
We are indeed blessed with such biodiversity from the land that we call home. Let’s all play our part in preserving their habitats. We hope that this humble list has increased your spirits in preparation for Malaysia Day!