Best time to travel to Malaysia

Pygmy Elephants

The world's smallest subspecies of elephants live in Malaysian Borneo

Pygmy Elephants
Photo by

Mike Prince

Do you remember Dumbo—the elephant with huge ears portrayed in a Disney cartoon? You might think that such animals don't exist in real life, but it actually resembles Borneo elephants.

A whole family was coming for a refreshment to the Kinabatangan river.
A whole family was coming for a refreshment to the Kinabatangan river.

There are about 1,500 Borneo elephants, which inhabit mostly the Sabah region of the island. Their origins come from Asian elephants, but still, they are quite different. A bit smaller in size, big ears, long tails, gentle nature—all these features describe Borneo subspecies and the reason they are called pygmy elephants.

Things to do in Malaysia : Pygmy Elephants

Most Borneo elephants can be found in the area around the Kinabatangan River. Some are kept in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve and some inhabit the adjacent dipterocarp forest. This region gets lots of rain throughout the year, but the least rainy days generally occur between June and September. This is also a good period to see orangutans in the wild.

Things to do in Malaysia : Pygmy Elephants
Things to do in Malaysia : Pygmy Elephants