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Marine Places

Kinabatangan Mangroves

Mangrove swamps occupy a coastal region of the Kinabatangan River delta, within eastern Sabah in the northern part of the island of Borneo. The mangrove swamps in this area form a complex mosaic with other types of lowland forest (including palm forest) and open reed marsh. They are home to dozens of species of saltwater fish, invertebrates such as shrimp and crabs, otters, and some 200 species of birds including various species of fish eagle, egret, kingfisher, and heron. Irrawaddy dolphins are also occasionally spotted in the region, while other spectacular inhabitants include Borneo’s indigenous proboscis monkey and the saltwater crocodile (the world’s largest crocodile species), which was almost hunted to extinction but whose numbers are now recovering. Over the past 30 years, there has been extensive clearance of mangroves in the Kinabatangan delta for purposes of timber and charcoal production. The mangroves have either been replaced by oil palms or the cleared land has been developed for shrimp farming. Inevitably, the wildlife has suffered, but the government of Sabah is now engaged in a large-scale mangrove replanting operation.

Kinabatangan Mangroveszoom image
  • Pacific Ocean West
  • Principal Species Stilt mangrove, long-fruited stilt mangrove, gray mangrove, nipa palm
  • Area 400 square miles (1,000 square km)
  • Location Southeast of Kota Kinabalu, eastern Sabah, Malaysia
Kinabatangan Mangroves habitat mapzoom image