The Wilds of Ulu Muda

Hymeir, one of the owners of Earth Lodge, rides a boat down the Muda river for a sunset cruise.

Hymeir, one of the owners of Earth Lodge, rides a boat down the Muda river for a sunset cruise.

For the past week, we have been in Ulu Muda, a forest reserve in northwestern Malaysia that is managed by the State Government of Kedah. We stayed at Earth Lodge (http://earthlodgemalaysia.com/about/ulu-muda/), a small camp along the Muda River that is owned by a man named Hymeir and his partner. To get to the lodge, we traveled upriver for about two hours from the local jetty.

We spent our days hiking in the forest and could usually be found cruising the river in a boat at dawn and at dusk. On those rides, we were hoping to catch a glimpse of the rare Asiatic elephants that live in the forest. Ulu Muda is the first location we have visited in Southeast Asia where it is still possible to see Asiatic elephants in the wild. It was not until this morning, on our 8th and final day, that we spotted the giant creatures. We were lucky enough to observe a mother, father, and two calves as they came down to the river.  Hymeir estimates that there are around 100 individuals left in Ulu Muda, a reserve of over 160,000 hectares.

Asiatic elephants on the bank of the Muda River.

Asiatic elephants on the bank of the Muda River.

It was an unbelievable week – beyond the elephants, we saw wild boar, sambar deer, a garnet pitta, a giant argus at its display site, and gliding geckos. I’ll be posting from our journal this week, but for now, check out a few of my favorite images:

Amazing spider found on night walk, Ulu Muda, Malaysia.

Amazing spider found on night walk, Ulu Muda, Malaysia.

Lantern bugs (Family: Fulgoridae) rest on the bark of a tree.

Lantern bugs (Family: Fulgoridae) rest on the bark of a tree. 

Gliding gecko on tree bark during the day, Ulu Muda, Malaysia.

Gliding gecko on tree bark during the day, Ulu Muda, Malaysia.

 

 

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