The huge 55,507 hectare Deramakot Forest Reserve is managed by the Sabah Forestry Department for conservation and sustainable forest management. Just 10% of the forest is currently set aside for conservation and 90% is destined for reduced-impact logging. It is hoped that increased tourism will shift the balance and encourage the government to allocate more of this important reserve to conservation.
There is certainly much to safeguard here and Deramakot is quickly gaining a reputation for its exceptional sightings of some of Borneo’s rarest animals. Daytime sightings frequently include Bornean orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus), the Bornean agile gibbon (Hylobates albibarbis), maroon langur monkey (Presbytis rubicunda), silvery langur monkey (Trachypithecus cristatus), two species of macaque and a wide range of squirrels, shrews, birds and snakes. Rarer daytime mammal encounters could include the Borneo pygmy elephant (Elephas maximus), banteng wild ox (Bos javanicus) and the very rare and beautiful Sabah grizzled langur (Presbytis sabana).
Deramakot is particularly known for its long night drives that can reveal a plethora of nocturnal mammals. Common sightings include Malay civet (Viverra tangalunga), common palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), striped palm civet (Arctogalidia trivirgata), giant red flying squirrel (Petaurista petaurista), Thomas’s flying squirrel (Aeromys thomasi), Philippine slow loris (Nycticebus menagensis), western tarsia (Cephalopachus bancanus), Sunda colugo (Galeopterus variegatus), Bornean bearded pig (Sus barbatus) and a large number of deer (mostly samba and muntjac). Much rarer nocturnal sightings could include sun bear (Helarctos malayanus), Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica), binturong (Arctictis binturong), otter civet (Cynogale bennettii) and the Sunda stink badger (Mydaus javanensis).
Deramakot is also gaining a reputation for its wild cat sightings. Strikingly beautiful leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis) are commonly seen along the forest verges and this is one of the best places in the world to see both marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata) and the Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi). Both are rare and elusive but many people have been successful here in the past. Deramakot is also thought to be home to a small population of the Bornean bay cat (Catopuma badia) but its elusive nature and diurnal habit has made it almost impossible to spot.