Tag Archives: deer

Game Meats (Bushmeat) of Sabah

Wild boar meat

Sabah is blessed with abundance of wildlife and many enjoy that with their mouths. Consumption of game meat (meat of wildlife) is common here, especially in rural area. In fact, hunting of wildlife (game species) is permitted in unprotected forest, if you get the hunting license from Sabah Wildlife Department (of course you also need license for owning a hunting rifle in first place). Below are some popular game species of Sabah:

wild boar
The bearded pig is on top of the list. Muslims don’t take pork, so there are still quite a lot of them in the wild. However, the number is comparatively lesser than a few decades ago. In the past, hunters ambushed the wild boars at their migration path and they could see hundreds of wild boars at a time. Today you only can see such marvelous scene in National Geography channel. Due to shrinking and fragmented forest, wild boars venture to villages for food crop, making them more vulnerable to hunting.

wild boar meat
wild boar meat for sale
Above: wild boar meat for sale at a roadside stall.

wild boar meat
wild boar head
Above: wild boar meat for sale at tamu (native open market)

The trading of game meat is a million-dollars business, but not heavily commercialized. The meat is mainly for local consumption and not exported. I tried wild boar meat and it is not really taste better than domesticated pig. Most wild boars are hunted in oil palm plantation, so their meat has unpleasant smell because oil palm fruit is their main diet, some say.

sambar deer (payau)
The photos above is Sambar Deer, locally known as Payau, the largest deer species of Sabah.

deer horn
When I was a little kid, I was used to see them when I was playing in the wood nearby my grandmother house in Kepayan (near Kota Kinabalu International Airport Terminal 1 today).

deer soup
Above: “Payau” soup

deer meat
Above: payau (deer) meat sautéed in soy sauce and zesty sliced ginger.
Deer meat is the most well-received game meat, and most Sabahans had tried it at least once. It tastes like a mixture of lamb and pork.

barking deer (kijang)
Above is barking deer, locally known as “Kijang”. It is about the size of a dog but its meat is more tender than Sambar Deer.

barking deer
However, when I saw a poor Kijang being hunted in the wild like photo above, I don’t think I want to eat it again..

monitor lizard
monitor lizard meat
Monitor lizard is also part of our menu. It’s so easy to catch them and they are everywhere, in river, drain and even dumpster. People usually “fish” them with chicken intestine as bait. I was told that their meat is good for skin. Well, this reptile eats rotten meat and live in dirty swamp, I would not recommend you to eat such creature which is full of bacteria.

hunting rifle (bakakuk)
Above: photo of “bakakuk” (home made rifle)
As a matter of fact, even today, villagers living adjacent to a forest usually hunt, just like villagers next to river are usually fishermen. And they have been doing this for centuries and that has become part of their traditional lives. Many own a “home made” rifle. Under Malaysian law, owning an unlicensed rifle is a serious offense and you can be jailed not less than 7 years, or fined more than RM10,000, or both. However, most local authority keeps one eye closed. Occasionally we hear from the news that hunters shot at the moving shadow and killed their buddies by accident.

I once followed a trip in Sabah interior and have the chance to photograph how hunters cook the game. Even clever animals such as mouse deer can’t escape the bullet of hunters. Poor deer..
mouse deer
mouse deer
mouse deer
cooking mouse deer
They removed the fur and cut the meat into pieces, then they cooked the meat in a pot with onion.

game meat menu
When having lunch in a restaurant in remote area, I found a Chinese restaurant that serves variety of wild meat. Besides the usual wild boar and deer dishes, they also cook squirrel and… hmmm.. bat, which I guess might be flying fox (fruit bat).

Above: squirrel waits for its turn to be eaten..

tembadau (Banteng)
Personally I’m not really fond of eating wildlife, as there is no way I can tell if the meat on my plate is from licensed hunter or illegal poaching. Probably nobody remember that Banteng (a wild cattle called “Tembadau” locally) was once a very common animal in Malaysia. I read a old story of a Borneo hunter who says he can easily find the herd with 100 Banteng. Due to poaching, Banteng is extinct in Peninsular Malaysia since 1950s and Sarawak in 1980s. There are only a few hundreds left in Sabah so they are highly endangered. But there are still bastards who don’t care about this and say Banteng is delicious and is a must-try meat.

wild boar head

Some may say Sabah has thousands square Kilometers of forest and we still have many wildlife. But bigger mammals need about 10 square Kilometers to survive, so our forest is not big enough to host that many wildlife to fulfill the appetite of everyone. Do you know Tapir and Tiger once existed in Sabah thousands years ago? It is the earliest case of extinction caused by hunting.

porcupine meat
Above: porcupine meat. The seller said they were trapped by snare in the plantation, not that they hunt them.

snake meat
Above: snake meat for sale

Just look around us and you will see many overweight people, we are not short of protein supply, so there is no need to turn to wildlife for meat. I don’t want to encourage people to eat wildlife, so I’m sorry that I can’t disclose the locations where you can find those meals.

crocodile meat
The only sustainable game meat I can think of is the crocodile meat from crocodile farm. Sandakan Crocodile Farm opens a restaurant that sells Crocodile “Bak Kut Teh” (herb soup). For those of you who are curious how this man-eater tastes like, you can try it at Shen Loong in 1Borneo Hypermall, LOL.

crocodile meat
crocodile meat
Above: Crocodile meat. Note the fried crocodile egg.

crocodile claw
Above: did you see the crocodile claw in the photo?

The crocodile meat is a bit chewy but not bad. No, I don’t work for Shen Loong.. I brought home some crocodile eggs and my mom screamed, “ILL! Throw it away!!!” Haha..

Photos taken in Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

Crocker Range Park (part 2 of 4)

Crocker Range Park

Continued from Part 1…

Crocker Range Park is one of the most important national parks of Sabah, due to its rich biodiversity and ecology values. About 500 plant species (1/3 of Borneo’s species), 107 mammal, 67 amphibian, 52 reptile and 26 species of freshwater fishes are found in this Park. There are two nature trails in the Park.

Please refer to the layout map below for the location of both trails:
Layout map of Crocker Range Park

Crocker Trail (2.036 KM)

Nature lovers should talk a walk in the 2.036-Kilometer Crocker Range. The starting point is just next to the Administration Office. It’s quite a leisure jungle trekking for less than 3 hours and ends at a point which is 500 Meters from accommodation area (hostels/chalets). You also can start the trekking from opposite direction (i.e. from ending to starting point).

Start of Crocker trail
The trail is a nature route but in fairly good condition, so you won’t lose your way. The terrain is not challenging though there are a few mildly steep path.

Nature trail of Crocker Range Park

waterfall of Crocker Range Park
In the begining of the trail is a waterfall and small stream.

jungle trekking in Crocker Range Park
There is a signage in every 100 Meters. You should bring raincoat, insect repellent and a bottle of water with you. There might be forest leeches around in wet season, so you may put on your leech socks. It was very dry during my visit, so I didn’t see any leech.

The first half of the trail is inside old secondary forest, which was used to be a plantation, so you will see rubber, bamboo and banana trees.

trail of Crocker Range Park

insects of Crocker Range Park

Then you will come to the zone between secondary and primary rainforests. At night, if you are lucky, you would see wildlife such as sambar deer, sun bear, barking deer, mouse deers, wild boar or civets around this area. In daytime, I’m afraid you won’t see any big animal. I only saw a few birds, squirrels and treeshrews. You can pay attention to the shrubs along the trail, you might spot some interesting insects and plant.

Above: the moult skin of cicada. Cicada spends 12 to 13 years underground. If your child is as old as this cicada, he is in high school already.

shelter in Crocker trail
Above: At 1,150th Meter, about halfway of the trail, there is a shelter for you to rest.



end of Crocker trail
Above: the ending point of the Crocker trail. Just follow the gravel road and you will see your accommodation in 10 minutes. To be honest, this trail is less impressive than other forest trails I try in other national parks. But in night time, this trail offers so much to see. Read the next article to find out.

Pine Trail

The second trail, which I don’t recommend, is the Pine Trail near the ticket counter (refer to map for location). It is very poorly maintained and look more like an abandoned trail.

pine trees of Crocker Range Park
The dense pine woods look so beautiful from a distance. That’s why I decide to check out the Pine Trail. The pine trees were planted by the previous land owner. The Sabah Parks staff did advise me that the pine trail is in less than ideal condition and he doesn’t encourage me to explore.

Pine trail

Rusa Shelter in pine trail

The 1st 150 Meters walk to the Rusa Shelter (Pondok Rusa) is quite ok. I had a good opening view of Crocker Range and Keningau valley from the shelter.

poorly-maintained pine trail
Driven by curiosity, I proceed deeper to the pine trail, where the trail condition gets quite uninviting. The trail was almost unrecognizable and covered by long grass and dense shrubs, and some parts are so narrow. I feel very uncomfortable walking on grass stack with shrubs so near to me, coz that’s where the snakes like to lurk. Though I was hesitating, I was still moving in and I had no idea where is the end.

dangerous pine trail
You also need to be very careful not to trip and fall on the sharp incisions of Acasia shrubs. Such “trap” is everywhere on the trail.

leaves of pine trees
Above: the needle-like pine leaves
It took me more than 30 minutes to reach the pine tree area.

pine trees of Crocker Range Park
The trail disappears, so I assume I have reached the ending point.

You may watch the 1-min video of pine trail below:

Click Here to see bigger video

old signage in pine area
Above: anyone can read what is written on the signage?

pines trees
Here I am, under the pine trees and surrounded by dense undergrowth. But what’s the point? What am I doing here?

pine fruits
Well, there are a lot of pine fruits on the ground. Someone like to collect this, but not me. Now you know what is the pine trail about.

On the way back to my cabin, I passed by a soccer field, which is worth a mention here.

Soccer Field

The football/soccer field is quite near the camping ground. The Sabah Parks guides tell me that I can see deers playing soccer here at night. Just kidding.

soccer field
Yes, you can see Sambar Deers (Payau) and Barking Deers (Kijang) wandering in this field at night. Sabah Parks is trying to plant fruit and food crop to attract more deers. In future, they will open a new “Deer Trail” as a new attraction for deer sighting.

deer dropping
animal dropping
If you walk around, you would see deer dropping on the field, an evidence of their visit.

Observatory Tower

Another point of interest you should check out is the 20-Meter observatory tower next to the restaurant in Crocker Range Park. It is just a stone throw from the Crocker Nature Center.

Observatory tower

restaurant of Crocker Range Park
Above: the restaurant (Cinnamon Cafe) next to the tower, opens from 8am to 9pm daily.

Cinnamon Cafe
Above: having dinner in Cinnamon Cafe

food of Cinnamon Cafe
Above: Cinnamon Cafe doesn’t have many choices of food but it tastes ok.

watch tower
The notice says the tower only allows a maximum of 8 visitors at a time and use it at your own risk.

observatory tower
The structure of the tower is mainly steel and very solid.

You may watch the 2-min video of observatory tower below:

Click Here to see bigger video

The feature of this tower is – you can get a very nice view of Keningau town from the top. I took the following photos on the tower. You can see the Juta Hotel clearly, the highest building of Keningau.

Keningau town in daytime
Above: Keningau in daytime

sunrise of Keningau town
Above: sunrise of Keningau

night view of Keningau town
Above: Keningau after sunset

Click Here for Next Article (part 3)

More Photos

You may check out the photo album of Crocker Range Park for more nice pictures:
Photos of Crocker Range Park

All Articles

Part 1: Crocker Nature Center, Insectarium, Fern Garden & Rafflesia Plot
Part 2: Crocker Trail, Pine Trail & Observatory Tower (this article)
Part 3: Night Walk
Part 4: Accommodation in the Park

Photos taken in Keningau, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo