Wild Borneo – Gomantong Caves

The Gomantong Caves are an intricate cave system inside Gomantong Hill. The hill is the largest limestone outcrop in the Lower Kinabatangan area, Sandakan division, in the Malaysian state of Sabah. The main cave system is divided into two parts: the more accessible Simud Hitam (Black Cave), and the larger Simud Putih (White Cave) which lies above. The names refer to the main type of nests produced by swiftlets in each cave. The cave system is home to many other animals, including massive populations of cockroaches and bats. For centuries, the caves have been renowned for their valuable edible swiftlet nests, which are harvested for birds nest soup. The most valuable of the nests, the white ones, can sell for very high prices. Every evening, over 2 million resident bats spiral out for their evening feed. As the bats leave, the swiftlets are usually beginning to make their way back to the caves after a days foraging. There are also bat hawks that linger not far from the scene and prey specifically on the bats as they leave their roost.

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