Search for new hiking trails leads to discovery of new caves in Labuan
LABUAN,. Three cave chambers sealed off by sand have been discovered in the Pancur Hitam forest here, which could reveal more about who might have lived in the area in ancient times.
The discovery was made by a team of hikers from MTB Park who were searching for new hiking trails in June 2021 but kept their finding a secret to prevent intrusion that could harm the unexplored caves, which have the potential to be turned into a national heritage.
The group’s leader Jamil Kario said while studying the caves, they discovered a hollow area, a waterfall and a rare type of bamboo growing near the caves.
He said that given that the caves had been in existence since World War II, the fallen Japanese soldiers were likely to have been using the caves as their hideout.
“After entering and climbing through the first cave, we found that it is about 80 feet (24 metres) in length and 40 feet (12 metres) in height.
“The three caves are home to thousands of bats, hanging from the ceiling…as you enter the caves, you will have to wade through several feet of water,” he said after visiting the caves with Bernama Labuan’s representatives on Monday.
Kampung Pohon Batu village head Haryadi Omar said he hoped that Labuan Corporation (LC) would initiate a meeting with the National Geopark Steering Committee on the possibility of recognising the caves as Labuan’s national geopark site.
Haryadi also agreed with the MTB Park team that the area could be developed into an extreme sports destination and tourism spot.
“…we must be thankful to the explorers who discovered the caves and come up with ideas to help turn the Pancur Hitam forest into attractive and challenging hiking trails,” he said.
Labuan has been recognised as a national geopark in Dec 2021, covering an area of 402 square kilometres which is rich in rock landscapes as well as biological sites such as a mangrove forest (Kinabenuwa), coastal forest (Tanjung Kubong), wildlife sanctuary (Pulau Ular) and marine parks (Pulau Rusukan Besar, Pulau Rusukan Kecil and Pulau Kuraman).