Join with us to learn the Art of Trekking in the secretive rainforests of the Kinabatangan. With more than 18km of jungle trails, there are amazing jungle trekking opportunities out of the Tungog Rainforest Eco Camp. Even so, we don’t do “tramping” for the sake of getting from point A to point B, our walks are always a slow ramble, with a view to open the senses to the sounds and smells of the rainforest. Our footsteps and movements require stealth and minimal noise so as not to scare the secretive birds and mammals of the rainforest. To hear the “crunch of the orangutan eating” is the pinnacle of accomplishment for newcomers and is arguably a considerable achievement given the wild orangutans live shy and concealed lives +30m high in the dense forest canopy.
Chat with us to organise a rainforest trekking guide, or one of our plant or bird specialists. Mixed or hybrid longer stay programs can also be arranged by contacting the KOPEL team…
For beginners or Avian addicts, birdwatching out of the Tungog Rainforest Eco Camp is one of Southeast Asia’s hidden surprises. With more than 200 species of bird being observed in the Pin-Supu Forest Reserve, that’s too many to squeeze into a short blurb about birdwatching out of the Tungog Rainforest Eco Camp. Common residents include the friendly and colourful Hooded Pitta (Pitta sordida) and the Black & Crimson Pitta (Erythropitta ussheri). Of the eight hornbill species present in the forest around the Eco Camp the large White-crowned Hornbill (Berenicornis comatus), Wrinkled Hornbill (Rhabdotorrhinus corrugatus) and the Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros) are most common with the Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) most common on any river cruise. Colourful birds such as the Black-and-red Broadbill (Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos), Banded kingfisher (Lacedo pulchella) and the Diard's Trogon (Harpactes diardii) are also not uncommon sights. Beautiful wetland birds are also observed daily such as the Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster), the Storm's Stork (Ciconia stormi), and the Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus). On very rare occasions we have been astounded to witness the Bornean Ground-cuckoo (Carpococcyx radiceus) and the even rarer Giant Pitta (Hydrornis caeruleus) have been recorded in the forests around the Tungog Lake.
Join one of our specialist forest guides or kick-back on our Camp Platforms and wait for the birds to come to you. Interested to try our place for your next Borneo Birdwatching Sojourn, contact us…
Sunset Wildlife River Cruises
Cruising the Lower Kinabatangan River at sunrise or sunset must be one of the most peaceful and relaxing activities in the Borneo Rainforest. There are few experiences so easy as this, and after a long day on the road, or a long day in the forest, this is a great way to unwind, let go and soak up the floodplain forest atmosphere.
Even a novice can come away with amazing photos of the wildlife on KOPEL’s sunset wildlife river cruise. With five primate species and five hornbill species viewable on any early morning or late afternoon sojourn, this makes the cruising out of KOPEL hit the top five wildlife and birdlife species of Borneo all in a single dose. Alongside these top 10 there are stunningly beautiful Kingfishers, Saltwater Crocodiles, and even the shy Orangutan can show-up amongst some of the crazy riverside wildlife possibilities.
KOPEL runs the cruises on demand, and advance bookings are essential. The programs can run stand-alone for passing visitors or be packaged into longer stay programs. Contact KOPEL for more details.
Tree Planting With KOPEL
Trees are a vital part of any tropical rainforest. Trees provide the necessary structure and habitat, leaflitter and microclimate for a huge diversity of other plants and organisms. If this structure is simplified into layers, such as the understory, midstory and arboreal (canopy) zonations, then the arboreal canopy zonation has one of the most critical functions. The arboreal zonation is the powerhouse of the forest, where photosynthesis produces much of the physical structure, and hence habitat, alongside vital plant sugars that enrich the soil, and flowers and fruits that feed a huge diversity of organisms.
KOPEL Bhd has been planting trees since 1999. Ultimately, we plant trees to accelerate the regeneration of the forest structure and recreate the arboreal zonation. This means recreating food webs and habitat for a wider diversity of pollinators and seedbearing birds and wildlife. This in turn accelerates the spread of an even wider diversity of plant species, thus enhancing forest diversity, and succession to climax forest species.
Read the full story about KOPEL’s experience and forest restoration here.
For more information on getting involved in KOPEL’s forest restoration initiative, volunteering or setting up a school or university program with KOPEL please feel free to contact KOPEL Office at +6089551070 or visit www.kopelkinabatangan.com
Lake Restoration With KOPEL
The oxbow lakes of the Lower Kinabatangan Floodplain make up a rare type of aquatic habitat and are critical breeding areas for many freshwater fish species. Many of these lakes are deemed exceedingly high conservation value due to their rarity and the ecological significance they provide. The Tungog Lake is one such example. This lake is a special type of Oxbow Lake being a seasonally closed aquatic ecosystem, only connecting to the Kinabatangan River during the annual wet season. This means the Tungog Lake remains mostly clear of sediment from the main river and is thus very deep and surprisingly clear. Estimates suggest the lake is more than 1,000 years old.
Unfortunately, oxbow lakes like the Tungog Lake, are under severe threat. The Tungog Lake has been completely covered by a mat of the invasive flood borne water weed Salvinia molesta and stands to lose more than 95% of its aquatic diversity, this includes the knock-on impacts to many endangered or vulnerable species such as aquatic dependent bird and mammal species. KOPEL has been working since 2004 to rid the Tungog Lake of this weed, and for a number of years KOPEL succeeded. For good or for bad, this work is tied to the volunteers and revenue earned from the ecotourism activities, and our program has been shut down on a number of occasions over the years due to events such as the COVID crisis. During this shut down period, and in the absence of monthly removal of Salvinia regrowth, the Salvinia weed has made a dramatic comeback, regrowing over most of the lake surface.
KOPEL has been working for many years to rid the lake of this invasive waterweed. KOPEL has applied both manual and semi mechanical approaches, all of which are expensive and rely on machines and fossil fuels to power them. In an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of the restoration work and support the transition to a more ecologically sustainable approach, KOPEL has in recent years been advocating the use of an integrated approach including the use of the biological control - Cytobagous salviniae. Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go, and KOPEL welcomes all forms of support, most notably those ecotourists willing to volunteer and help this initiative achieve its goal to rid the lake of the invasive water weed Salvinia. For more detailed information read more here
For more information on getting involved in KOPEL’s lake restoration initiative, volunteering or setting up a school or university program with KOPEL please feel free to contact KOPEL Office at +6089551070 or visit www.kopelkinabatangan.com