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Series 4: 7. Borneo



Steve and the crew travel to Borneo, a giant jungle island in Southeast Asia and a place close to Steve’s heart. The jungle is packed full with some of the weirdest, most wonderful and most deadly animals in the world, and there are new species being discovered all the time. However, the rainforest here is in big trouble and Steve’s mission is to find out why - and there is no better time to start than the dead of night.\n\nCruising along the pitch-black river, searching the banks by torchlight, Steve spots his first Deadly animal – a saltwater crocodile. This one is just a baby, but it will grow up to be the largest reptile on the planet, with a mouthful of huge cone-shaped teeth.\n\nAs dawn lights up the jungle, Steve and the team are shocked to discover that much of it is missing. Just a few metres back from the river, the lush vegetation gives way to an oil palm plantation. In Borneo alone, palm oil plantations now cover an area the size of Scotland, and it is all because of what grows on these trees. The fruit of the oil palm is one of the most important fruits on the planet, yielding a huge amount of vegetable oil and found in absolutely everything. Steve gets the crew to turn out their bags and they discover that the oil is an ingredient in everything, from biscuits to toothpaste. To supply the world with all the oil it needs to make these products requires more plantations to grow the fruit. This is leading to more and more of the jungle being cut down, leaving animals with nowhere to go.\n\nTo find out how this is affecting the wildlife of Borneo, Steve travels to meet some Bornean sun bears, who spend most of their life in the trees and need large areas of jungle in order to survive. He also meets some orphaned orangutans, a species which has seen its population halved in Borneo in the last 60 years, and if the deforestation continues, the only place they will ever be seen is in sanctuaries.\n\nAlthough we can’t just stop using palm oil – farmers need to grow it to provide an income for their families and as a product it’s highly efficient and useful - it is possible to farm it sustainably in a way that doesn’t cause so much destruction. Steve travels to a sustainable plantation where there is space left for wildlife and finds a female reticulated python on her eggs.\n\nTo finish off, Steve wants to get an orangutans-eye view of the forest, and scales a 40-metre-high tree to spend the night looking out over the forest. Every single one of these trees is precious and home to huge numbers of animals, and we need to protect the Bornean jungle before it's too late.

Source: CBBC

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