WWF's Dan Winter accompanied our most recent Borneo tour. We caught up with him to get his thoughts on the otherworldy destination.
What was your favorite animal sighting?
We saw so many great animals, both large and small, that picking a favorite is hard! But I must say that seeing a wild orangutan as we headed up the Kinabatangan River was a thrill. That great big male orangutan eating fruit high in a tree was a joy to see.
What was your favorite moment of the trip?
One afternoon at Sepilok, we saw a red giant flying squirrel glide between trees. The group oohed and aahed like it was a fireworks display!
What surprised you most about Borneo?
Borneo has some of the finest resorts anywhere in the world! We were truly in the lap of luxury in Kota Kinabulu. And the Borneo Rainforest Lodge in Danum Valley was a close second to that, which is all the more impressive given that it is a long way from the nearest town.
Number one piece of advice for future travelers?
Get your sleep now! There’s so much to see in Borneo that you won’t want to sleep much when you’re there.
What did you take away from this trip?
Seeing the work of WWF make a positive impact on wildlife and communities was very gratifying. Even more so was seeing that conservation is important to the people of Borneo; the tradition of protecting nature goes back to the founding of Malaysia.
Logging and agriculture are two conservation concerns in Borneo. Did you see evidence of those threats during the trip?
Flying from Kota Kinabulu to Mulu we could see great swaths of forest cleared for agriculture, and our lodge on the Kinabatangan River abutted an oil palm plantation. We also saw logging trucks on our way into Danum Valley. In the latter case we knew that the logging concession in the Danum Valley represented sustainable logging which supported conservation work in the reserve. Finding a balance between commercial activity and nature is a very tricky problem, and we could see many examples of that on our trip.