Sabah: before the rainforests are gone

Jarad Hicks takes a photographic journey into the Sabah jungles to find a stunning world alive with unique wildlife and breathtaking scenery, hanging in the balance amid palm oil plantations.

Sabah, the Malaysian state in the north of Borneo, has some of the most unique wilds that Mother Nature has to offer.

However heartbreakingly, as I flew from the busy streets of Kota Kinabalu to the Kinabatangan wildlife sanctuary, Sabah’s controversial palm oil plantations appeared even more destructive than I imagined, creeping their checkerboard blight over what natural forest remains.

Exploring the region thereafter really crystallised for me just how crucial it is that we invest in preserving this precious part of our world.

All the natural beauty that can be found amongst its foliage; the proboscis monkey, the macaque, the saltwater crocodiles, are integral to the health and function of Sabah.

The reality is, the country is currently being ravaged by western-led palm oil companies. Meanwhile villagers in northern Sabah are against the foreign investment and the eradication of rainforest for palm oil, but are afraid to speak out with Malaysian law able to convict them for dissent if they even sign a petition.

It’s a devastating situation, one that requires drastic action. If anything, this collection of photographs aims to highlight just what is at stake.