Saving the island

The world is changing every day. Its natural beauty disappears, often forever. It might be difficult to imagine, but each year almost 1,000 species, which we have not yet managed to describe, become extinct! Today, one in four species of mammals, one in five species of birds, and a one third of amphibians are threatened with extinction.

I have recently sensed the changes brought by civilization, while visiting the green Borneo, which may soon become a desert with a few forest oases. Only here can you see orangutans living in the rainforest and long-nosed monkeys, canoe on the Kinabatangan river and watch the surrounding jungle, climb Mount Kinabalu which is the highest mountain in Southeast Asia, see Rafflesia – the world’s biggest flower, and shake hands with descendants of the renowned head hunters.

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Unfortunately, man disturbs the natural ecosystem. Over the past 20 years, half of the forests on the island have been cut down. Huge trees were turned into paper, and oil palms were planted, because such plantations bring a lot of profit. It turns out that over the last 30 years, Borneo has been haemorrhaging 2 million hectares of forest a year to loggers, forest fires and plantations. The governments of Malaysia and Indonesia, which rule the island, declare to combat illegal logging and promise that the cleared areas will once again be afforested. This is estimated to cost as much as $60 million per each 4,000 hectares of land. Meanwhile, rain forests of Borneo and their inhabitants: pygmy elephants, clouded leopards and Sumatran rhinos are in real danger of extinction. To find out more, please read the article “Borneo – the last such paradise”. Enjoy your reading.