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About this book
About this book
Malaysia is a megadiverse country with an incredible number of land species – it is estimated to contain 20 per cent of the world's animal species – and whose coastal waters form part of the equally rich Coral Triangle. Written by a team of local experts, Wild Malaysia looks at the most important habitats within the three divisions of the country: Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah. The habitats cover a fascinating range including pristine rainforests, limestone complexes, wetlands, coastal regions, caves and highlands. A unique feature in each chapter is the `Guided Tour', which takes readers to specific habitats to explore the trees, birds, plants and animals to be found there. Illustrated with Stephen Hogg's vibrant photographs, Wild Malaysia provides an authoritative and entertaining survey of the wide spectrum of wildlife on the land and in the seas of this diverse country
Customer Reviews (1)
Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne
12 Feb 2021
Written for Paperback
This book is a good starting point for anyone planning a wildlife trip to Malaysia. I have been to Malaysia a few times and I anticipate that I will be visiting it many more times. Because of a number of reasons including amazing biodiversity, good infrastructure and great food, it is one of my favourite countries. This book covers Malaysia as a political entity with its geographical span including peninsular Malaysia in South East Asia and the two provinces of Sabah and Sarawak on the great island of Borneo which has biogeographical affinities with the Indonesian archipelago.
This book has been approached in the format of a lavishly illustrated guide to the major wildlife tourism sites with separate chapter authors for each of Peninsular Malaysia (Geoffrey Davison), Sabah (Junaidi Payne) and Sarawak (Melvin Gumal). The first two chapters cover eight sites each and the chapter on Sarawak covers six sites. All of the key sites included in a typical birding tour are covered such as Taman Negara, Fraser’s Hill, Kuala Selangor, Mount Kinabalu, Kinabatangan Floodplain, etc. Each site begins with an introduction followed by sections on Trails and Treks, Birds, Mammals, Fish, Plant Life and Access. A broader natural history approach means the book will be an enjoyable read for residents and visitors who are generally interested in natural history and not simply in pursuit of ticks to fill a birding life list. The extensive page count per site also provides room for a lot of practical information to be provided. For example, for me, it is reassuring to read that Lambir Hills National Park is very accessible. Having read some of the papers in Pollination Ecology and Rain Forest: Sarawak Studies edited by David Roubik and others, I would like to visit Lambir Hills on my next visit. For those who do not have the time or the appetite for scientific papers, Wild Malaysia abstracts the key information. For example, one learns that Lambir Hills is the richest rainforest type in Malaysia with over 1,100 tree species recorded in its study plot of 52 hectares (128 acres). Compare this with Britain which has only around 35 native trees.
There are many other useful tips. For example, we learn that the Danum Valley is the only site in Sabah where an undisturbed lowland dipterocarp forest can be viewed from a motorable road. An account of what a visitor might experience is described in evocative accounts labelled as a ‘Guided Tour’. Many of the introductions have details on conservation strategies and some behind the scene anecdotes on how the conservationists achieved their objectives. This type of detail is absent from a typical ‘where to watch wildlife’ guide.
The Wild Series by John Beaufoy Publishing is best described as a combination of serious but accessible natural history content with a coffee-table design. The books typically of 208 pages in length are written by knowledgeable all-round naturalists with extensive field experience. The text is complemented by beautiful photographs and design. They provide a good overview of the natural history of a country and contain practical information which is useful at the trip planning stages. For wildlife enthusiasts, they complement the established practical travel guides by the likes of Bradt, Lonely Planet and Rough Guides. For somebody who is a resident of a country or on an organised trip, they are useful for providing context and inspiration. They are large-format books, 210 mm by 260 mm, not designed to be carried in a day pack, but of a size and shape where one may be tempted to take on a trip for evening reading.
For any naturalist, a visit to a tropical rainforest is pure sensory overload. The multitude of species, the sounds, the smells, the dampness and the sights, all contribute to an intoxicating experience. The evocative descriptions in this book help to re-live some of that experience. I suspect the book will double up as both a trip planner and a souvenir as a result of the accessible writing and superb photography from Stephen Hogg and Cede Prudente.
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Dr Geoffrey Davison spent all his working life in Southeast Asia, as a university lecturer in Malaysia, a conservationist with WWF, and then with the National Parks Board, Singapore. He has written numerous scientific papers as well as books, including the bestselling A Naturalist's Guide to the Birds of Malaysia.
Junaidi Payne has worked with WWF-Malaysia in Sabah from 1979, and now focuses on the Sumatran Rhinoceros and on oil-palm issues. His previous publications include scientific papers and a number of popular reference books, including Wild Sabah.
Melvin Gumal was born in Sarawak and was educated at the University of Melbourne, Australia and the University of Cambridge, England. After heading Sarawak's National Parks and Wildlife Division's Education and Interpretation Unit for 12 years, he is now head of the Malaysia Program for the Wildlife Conservation Society. His current interests are in bats, elephants, orangutans and tigers.