Malaysia: Hundreds of insect species found in Hampuan Forest Reserve

STEPHANIE LEE The Star 12 Aug 17;

KOTA KINABALU: Hundreds of species of insects endemic to Borneo have been recorded in the newly gazetted Hampuan Forest Reserve close to Kinabalu Park.

An estimated 115 species, including butterflies, moths and beetles, are found in this forest reserve, which is believed to also have the highest density of nocturnal insects in the area, said Forest Entomologist for the Sabah Forestry Department Dr Arthur Y.C. Chung.

There are at least 42 butterfly, 15 moth and three beetle species found in Bukit Hampuan during their survey in the area to prepare for the gazetting sometime in 2011, he added.

It is likely that there are special types of butterflies, including Rajah Brooke’s Birdwing (Troides brookiana), Common Birdwing (Troides helena) and Tree Nymph (Idea stolli), in the forest reserve area.

Dr Chung said insects could travel from Kinabalu Park to Hampuan Forest Reserve due to its proximity and suitable living conditions.

Apart from insects, Dr Chung said an abundance of orchid species could be found at the forest reserve as well.

Dr Chung also recommended that Bukit Hampuan Forest Reserve be connected to the nearby Kinabalu Park, by gazetting the connecting state land area into a forest reserve.

“Forest fires, illegal hunting for wild animals and orchids, and agricultural activities are among the threats to Bukit Hampuan Forest Reserve, which directly affect its insect diversity,” he added.

Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datuk Elron Angin had in the recent state assembly said that Sabah was expanding the Bukit Hampuan Forest Reserve near Mount Kinabalu to ensure the survival of a butterfly species that can only be found there.

He added that the 1,243ha Bukit Hampuan forest reserve was being enlarged by another 26.3ha for this purpose.