From the rare Amur tigers of Siberia, to the gangly gibbons of Borneo, Asia has a wealth of wildlife. Some animals freely roam the wild, whereas others rely on human intervention to stop them from teetering into extinction. Sabrine Ong picks out the top 5 places to see wildlife in Asia. (Text by Sabrine Ong. Photo by Shutterstock)
1. YALA NATIONAL PARK, SRI LANKA
Yala is the second largest national park in Sri Lanka, home to Panthera pardus kotiya, a native leopard. The 130,000 hectares of diverse landscape consists of forestry, grasslands and lagoons. Visitors will also be able to spot the Sri Lankan sloth bear, elephant and water buffalo during their treks. The park houses Sithulpawwa, an ancient monastic settlement and former pilgrimage site, which was home to around 12,000 people some 2,000 years ago. To get to Yala, you can take an organised tour, or a local bus or taxi from the town of Tissamaharama.
2. FOPING NATIONAL NATURE RESERVE, CHINA
The Foping National Nature Reserve, boasting ancient gingko and bamboo forests, is inhabited by some of the last giant pandas; the reserve is currently home to 120 of these beautiful bears. Red pandas, snub-nosed monkeys, golden takins, colourful pheasants and the rare giant salamander are part of the spectacular array of wildlife found there.
3. ZOV TIGRA NATIONAL PARK, RUSSIA
This a mountainous haven for the endangered Amur tiger. A vast area on the southeast coast of Russia’s Primorsky Krai district, the park is relatively isolated. There are Manchurian deer, roe deer, sika deer and wild boar in abundance; the park is also home to the Far Eastern forest cat, brown bears and lynx. The critically endangered Amur leopard has not been seen in decades.
4. DANUM VALLEY CONSERVATION AREA, MALAYSIA
Before it was the Danum Valley Conservation Area, it was a protected area in the Ulu Segama Forest Reserve on Borneo. The area is home to all 10 of Sabah’s primate species, as well as the rare pygmy elephant, banteng (a type of wild cattle), Sumatran rhino, clouded leopard, marbled and flat-headed cats, and the Malay sun bear.
5. GUNUNG LEUSER NATIONAL PARK, INDONESIA
Gunung Leuser is one of the last rainforests on Sumatra, providing a habitat for the endangered orangutan, the Sumatran tiger, elephant and rhino, as well as the rare Sunda clouded leopard. Primates such as the siamang, Thomas’ leaf monkey and macaques are common to the area, and you can spot the slow loris, sun bears and deer. Several snakes are found here, too: the king cobra, banded krait and pit viper. agp