Here at Ecoteer there is nothing we love more than exploring the lush jungle. In fact we even built a volunteer project around our passion; trekking for conservation in the world’s oldest rainforest, Taman Negara.
Rainforests are incredibly biodiverse, home to 50% of species worldwide, as well as a quarter of plant ingredients in modern medicine. However increased levels of tourism and exploration into rainforest often has a negative effect on the environment. We believe that rainforest should be preserved and protected for future generations to enjoy as much as we do. Therefore I have come up with 5 simple points anyone can follow to trek responsibly in the jungle.
1. Don’t feed the locals!
Packing food is a must for trekking, a trek just isn’t the same without some tasty snacks to curb hunger. Especially much needed high protein foods such as nuts and trail mix. And whilst it might be tempting to share your food with the cute monkeys and other rainforest critters, please don’t feed the wildlife! Jungle animals are adapted to survive in their environment. Hand-feeding them only creates a reliance on human food, which isn’t healthy for the animal and can cause them to respond aggressively.
2. Carry out what you bring in
This one’s a given! When trekking, it’s important to leave behind nothing but footprints. Waste not only ruins the beauty of the rainforest for fellow trekkers, but is also harmful to the environment. Plastic waste for instance, takes up to 1,000 years to break down. We suggest you bring a rubbish bag with you, and make sure you separate any waste for recycling. However it is always best to use reusable water bottles and containers for your hike to minimise the rubbish even more.
3. Take only memories and photos
Rainforests are home to amazing species of plants, from beautiful hibiscus and orchids to the world’s largest (and smelliest!) flower Rafflesia. However as much as you want to, it’s important to leave everything in the rainforest behind so that the flowers can reproduce and create more beauty for other nature enthusiasts to enjoy.
4. Stay on the path
This is a point many travellers never think of, but straying from the trail may disturb the biodiversity around. Stick to the path created and admire the nature around.
5. Don’t create noise
The tranquility of the rainforest is the reason most of us go trekking, so let’s not ruin that! Simply explore the jungle to the sound of the forest birds and enjoy the peace and quiet. You never know when you will experience such a unique environment again!
Trekking in the jungle is an incredible activity connecting you to nature in the purest sense. If you would like to experience all of that in the oldest rainforest of Malaysia then take a look at the inspiration for this blog, our Merapoh Rainforest Station volunteer project.