Borneo is the 3rd largest Island in the world Borneo is the 3rd largest Island in the world and is located in South East Asia situated between Thailand and the Philippines. It is divided into 3 countries, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. Its rainforest of Sabah is the smallest of all rainforests but is considered to be the most biologically diverse place on earth. The very lush rainforests provide a vibrant habitat to over 18,000 plant species, including the worlds largest flowers and tallest trees and 50 carnivorous pitcher plants, 222 different mammal species, 420 birds, 100 amphibians. Indigenous tribes have lived in Borneo’s forests for thousands of years and just 100 years ago headhunters ruled a remote location of the island. The rainforests are so dense that to this date scientists continue to discover new species every year.
Unfortunately the rainforests have been disappearing rapidly due to outside corporations and the increasing need for consumer demand. This has left many animals homeless, injured, starving and vulnerable to opportunistic hunters.
- Commercial logging began in 1973
- In the 80’s and 90’s the rainforests were leveled at a rate unparalleled in human history.
- Large Corporations came in and started to purchase land and Borneo’s resources.
- These forests, with the animals included, were burned, logged and cleared, and then replaced with agricultural land, or palm plantations, WHICH STILL CONTINUES TODAY.
THE BIGGEST PROBLEM – PALM OIL:
Consumer demand is causing extensive Oil Palm Plantations to degrade the land, which is home for pygmy elephants and other wildlife. This causes fragmentation, disrupting migration routes and accessibility from each other and vital food supplies.
- The Palm Oil Industry is an Environmental Disaster for Borneo
BIGGEST EXPORTERS of PALM OIL ARE INDONESIA $15.4B AND MALAYSIA $9.5B(as of 2015).
70% of the rainforest has already been destroyed from logging and Palm oil Plantations.
BWP relies on generosity of the international community to help us with our mission for the survival of the smallest elephants in the world at the biggest risk of extinction (less than 1200).
Bornean Elephant Facts
Extinction is a serious probability for the Bornean “Pygmy” Elephant. The increase of global demand for palm oil is the number one cause of habitat destruction on the Island of Borneo. Due to the expansion of oil palm plantations and the destruction of rainforests many of the elephants migration routes have been disrupted. They use these ancient routes in search for food. Now the elephants often venture into plantations as well as populated areas searching for food. This has caused an increase in human-elephant conflict to the point that the Bornean Elephant has decreased in numbers going from approximately 2100 in 2006 to less than 1200 in 2020. In 2018 there were 32 reported elephant deaths and in 2019 there were 30. All of these elephants died due to various reasons (poaching, poisoning, snare traps, illness and starvation due to human elephant conflict). In just 9 years 30 orphaned baby elephants have been rescued. These baby elephants had become lost and were found with their mother nowhere in sight. This often happens when a herd is chased out of a human populated area or plantation with fire, firecrackers or tractors. During the time the fearful herd is fleeing the babies cannot keep up. Many of the babies left behind cannot survive and the mortality rate is only about 50%. This is the reason why positive human intervention is needed now. With the help of our supporters, we are confident we can turn this into a better situation.
Bornean Elephants – The smallest Elephants in the world found only on the Island of Borneo. Endangered with less than 1,000 still alive. At birth the Bornean Elephant weighs approximately 50 kilos (110 pounds) Bornean Elephants have larger ears, longer tails straighter tusks, shorter trunks andmuch smaller bodies than other elephants.
- Deforestation and habitat loss
- Human-elephant conflicts, which often leads to their death
- Poaching due to the growing demand for ivory. This is new to Borneo as of 2017.
In the past these elephants were not sought after because of their small tusks. Now poachers have become more aggressive (taking skins and tusks) and the elephants have become more vulnerable due to habitat destruction.
- Lifespan 55-70
- Water intake 75 – 125 liters per day
- Food intake 90 – 113 kilo (200-250 pounds) per day
Elephants are among the most intelligent mammals on Earth. They are social animals and must live in herds or they will experience depression and other psychological problems similar to humans.
They are more gentle than other elephant species, rather than charging their attackers, they simply turn their backs on them.