RECOGNISED AS A BIOSPHERE RESERVE BY UNESCO
The Crocker Range National Park covers the north-south Crocker Range, of 1,200-1,800 metres mountains in Sabah, east Malaysia on the island of Borneo, which separate the western coastal plain with the rest of the state. Lying 300 metres above sea level, it is spread over 1,399 kilometres making it the largest protected park in all of Sabah. The Crocker Range has been under protection as a forest reserve since 1968 but was declared as a National Park in 1984 to protect its rich biodiversity and rare species of plants and wildlife, also in part to protect the natural freshwater reserve area. Crocker Range National Park receives a rainfall of 3,000-4,000 millimetres per year, making it one of the highest precipitation areas in Sabah. The water catchments in the park provide an indispensable water source for drinking, agriculture and industrial purposes, and to sustain the daily needs of more than one third of the population of Sabah.
The Padas Gorge in which the Padas River swiftly runs – cuts the park in two, making this place the best white water rafting spot on the Island of Borneo. There are 11 other rivers and several streams and waterfalls that interlace through the park. In the Crocker Range National Park, it is possible to identify the five distinct types of vegetation in Sabah, which includes the montane forest, lower montane forest, upper montane dipterocarp forest and lower land forest. The word 'di-ptero-carp' meaning 'two-winged-fruit' comes from the Greek for the leaf-like appendages of the mature dipterocarp fruits which cause them to spin like helicopter blades and slow their fall to the ground. Although this type of tree is most prevalent within the park, it is also rich in chestnuts, oaks and conifers. The huge Belian (Borneo Ironwood) trees and the Seraya trees which can reach upwards of 70 metres can also be found in the park.
The Rafflesia Pricei, one of the three species of Rafflesia that can be found in Sabah, is the world’s largest flower and can be found in the Crocker Range National Park. It is a parasitic plant that gets its food from the Tetrasigma vines on which it grows. The flower can grow up to 38 centimetres across with the largest of the Rafflesia being 100 centimetres across and weighing 10 kilograms. It has no leaves, roots or a stem of its own and buds take several months to grow before the five-petaled flower opens. Orchids, Rhododendrons and Pitcher Plants are also widely dispersed throughout the Park.
There are at least five species of primates that can be found in the Crocker Range National Park such as the Orang Utan, Gibbons, the tiny Tarsier with its enormous button-like eyes, and the long-tailed and pig-tailed Macaque. The Clouded Leopard, Wild Bearded Pigs, Sun Bears, Civet and Marble Cats, Porcupines, Squirrels and Tree shrews can be found in this area as well as a rich variety of birds including hornbills, pheasants, and partridges.
The Crocker Range National Park is a paradise for hardcore campers and trekkers with the abundance of local people’s trails that run through the park, namely the ‘Salt Route’ – considered as one of the most beautiful and adventurous jungle treks in Sabah. The trek takes four days and you can experience home stay with the local people during your journey.