Batang Ai | Cultural Traditions & Rainforest Experiences 峇当艾 体验文化传统与热带雨林

Batang Ai | Cultural Traditions & Rainforest Experiences 峇当艾 体验文化传统与热带雨林

Batang Ai is a special place where visitors can both experience the Borneo rainforest and learn about Iban cultural traditions.  The local communities have a vibrant living culture with a fascinating history that they are keen to share with the world.  The area is also home to the most significant population of orangutan in Sarawak.  These assets plus the abundant natural features of clear rivers, verdant rainforests and iconic wildlife make this a destination for the consummate traveller.  The Batang Ai region is also known as a model destination for sustainable community and nature-based tourism.

A vast area of rainforest has been protected via the 24,040 hectare Batang Ai National Park and the 192,800 hectare Lanjak-Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary, which abuts the 771,200 hectare Bentuang-Karimun National Park across the border in Kalimantan.  The proposed Ulu Sungai Menyang conservation area will add at least another 14,000 hectares of protected forest to this complex. All these areas have been declared as conservation sites, and form a globally significant biodiversity hotspot that provides valuable habitat for the endangered orangutan.  This area is also an important part of the Heart of Borneo initiative.

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Batang Ai is one of Sarawak’s Iban heartlands with numerous communities dotted along the network of rivers that feed into the Batang Ai reservoir.  The typical dwelling for these communities is the longhouse: a village under one roof usually built adjacent to the river.  Rivers still provide the main access and the Iban in Batang Ai are expert boatmen, maneuvering their slender outboard-powered longboats through and around rapids and rocks.

Most of the ancestors of the Iban communities in Sarawak came from Kalimantan some 300–400 years ago.  They settled at Batang Ai and subsequently spread to other areas in Sarawak. Due to their relative remoteness, the longhouse communities of Batang Ai have retained much of their traditional character and charm.

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Getting There

Batang Ai is located 275 kilometres from Kuching.  The road journey from Kuching to the Batang Ai jetty takes approximately 4 hours, including stops at market towns; Serian, a Bidayuh market town is about an hour’s journey from Kuching; and about another 1.5 hour beyond that is the border town of Lachau.  There is an option for a short detour to Sri Aman, a town mentioned in one of Somerset Maugham’s short stories; this is the place to watch the benak (tidal bore) as it races up the Batang Lupar, and where Fort Alice, one of Rajah Charles Brooke’s forts, perches imperiously on a hillock. Arriving at the Batang Ai jetty, hop on traditional longboats to longhouses and other attractions; the Aiman Batang Ai Resort & Retreat runs a regular shuttle ferry service from the jetty.

 

峇当艾国家公园是本区最大的热带雨林跨国保育区的一个部分,24平方公里的园区与马来西亚蓝扎恩迪贸野生动物保护所和印尼班腾卡利曼国家公园相连接,整个保育区合起来将近一万平方公里,保护着婆罗洲岛上濒临绝种的人猿(又称:猩猩、红毛猩猩;估计超过一千只)和其他珍稀物种。基于保育的需要,峇当艾国家公园是保育区里唯一对外开放的部分,这个部分也是婆罗洲岛中部人猿分布最为密集之处,据统计每平方公里居住着一点七只人猿。换言之,这是观赏野生人猿的最佳地点,然而看到人猿的机会是可遇不可求的。

婆罗洲人猿指的是生长于马来西亚砂拉越和沙巴以及印尼加里曼丹雨林中的人猿,有别于生长于印尼苏门答腊北部的人猿。人猿是世界上其中一种最大的灵长类动物,而且几乎都是树栖。人猿的马来称谓是“Orang Utan”,在马来语中,“Orang”是“人”的意思,而“Utan”一字源于“Hutan”,指的是“森林”,因此从字面上来看,人猿即“森林里之子”。

成年的雄性人猿可高达150公分(5尺),重达100公斤(220磅),双手伸展时达240公分(8尺)宽,年龄较长者有硕大的面颊垫和垂落的喉囊。至于雌性人猿的体积一般上是雄性的四分之三,体重则是其一半。不论雌雄,人猿浑身长满长长的淡红色毛发。人猿的生殖率不高,雌性的性成熟期在12岁左右,但是一般在那2、3年后才会怀上第一胎,而后平均7、8年才怀孕一次。雄性的性成熟期则落在15岁,但是它们的面颊垫却还未发育健全,而面颊垫是其求偶的重要部位。饲养的人猿有者可以活到50岁,但野生人猿的平均寿命则难以估计,一般认为不会比饲养的长寿。

人猿的主食是水果,而且往往大半天时间都在森林里四处觅食。他们特别喜欢野生的无花果,以及气味浓烈的榴莲。偶尔,它们也吃其他食物,比如嫩叶、昆虫、树皮、鲜花、鸡蛋和小蜥蜴。人猿惯于每晚筑一个新巢,偶尔也在白天时小睡。出于安全考量,通常住在12至18公尺(40至60尺)高的树上。

野生人猿的生活作息看来相当孤独,但青少年经常成对相伴,而雌性也会三五成群。这种比较孤独的生活方式,源于雨林中的食物不足,以及缺少有力的竞争者。一只中年人猿在广袤的森林中漫游,寻找足够的食物以维系生命,它巨大的体型使之免受攻击,因此也无需与他人结伙防卫。

所有品种的人猿都属于高度濒危的物种,并且受到马来西亚、印尼和国际相关法令的保护。今天,估计全世界的野生人猿仅有2万至2万7千只(其中约2万只生活在婆罗洲岛,剩余的在苏门答腊)。导致人猿数量递减的因素,主要来自森林受到破坏、人类占据了它们的栖息地、滥猎以及活动物买卖。为了拯救人猿,提升人们保护野生动物的观念,印尼和马来西亚当局都在积极推动生态保育计划。

峇当艾国家公园内规划有5条步道,分别展示园区内的地质形貌和植被,比如您可以看到混合龙脑香林、老次生林和耕作区,以及散布在各处的墓园古迹。在走访园区步道时,游客必须由合格导游或园区领队陪同。

 

 

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