Gunung Jebak Puyuh
Extraordinary Caves and Limestone Hill
Gunung Jebak Puyuh ( Malay for "quails trap mountain") is a limestone hill that is extra special to botanists, naturalists and cave lovers in the state of Pahang.
To get there we have to go to the Gunung Senyum Recreational Forest and walk a short distance away.
It is the satellite hill of Gunung Senyum, but unlike it's big brother, it is less visited. Perhaps this is because it is not only some distance away, but is also smaller with only about 7 main caves to be found compared to about 20 caves at Gunung Senyum.
But although Gunung Jebak Puyuh has fewer caves, there is a beautiful cave there that some keen Malaysian cavers describe as a smaller version of Sarawak's Mulu Caves.
And this is of course besides the unique and special species of flora and fauna that are only found there.
Trekking And Nature Trails
Jebak Puyuh and its caves are still in pristine or natural state since not many visitors come here because of the need to trek about 3.5 kilometers through a tropical forest.
A medium paced trek to the location from the Gunung Senyum area will take about 45 - 60 minutes with rolling jungle trails and a couple of small wooden bridges crossings.
But the trekking is not difficult and is worth the effort for the variety of small wildlife and peculiar tropical plants and trees that can be observed along the trails.
On the way, a little sidetrack from the trail (ask your guide) will get you to a beautiful blue and greenish colored pool of clear water with small fishes. If the water level is high, you can take a dip and cool yourself, but be considerate of the fishes and other wildlife in the water there.
Observe the Beauty of Wildlife and Nature
Have you ever seen the seed of a dipterocarp tree before?
Well, you can find some real dipterocarp seed with wide soft fluttering wings in the forest. You'll be amazed by its creation.
You can see or hear the sound of squirrels, monkeys and birds, but of course in such forests, there will be wild boars and perhaps wild cats and tigers lurking somewhere. Therefore the need to follow the oft-given advice to have a guide who knows the jungle and forest well, and with great knowledge of the hills and caves.
There are many species of bats living in the caves and caverns there, some of which are sadly endangered.
Rare or endangered plants include the Merawan Jeruai tree and the Albino Ara tree, which you can see or pass during the trek to the hill.
About Malaysian Limestone Hills and Vegetation
In Peninsular Malaysia, it is estimated that 13% of flowering plants and ferns are found on the 0.3% of total land surface occupied by limestone vegetation, and overall they contribute more than 20% of Malaysia's plant endemics.
As mentioned before, some species of flora are only found at the Gunung Senyum and Jebak Puyuh location, such as the endemic "Senyumia minutiflora (Gesneriaceae)" which was verified by botanical experts from the Forest Institute of Malaysia (FRIM).
It is endemic to the area and is said to be found nowhere else in the world. And being the only representative of its genus, if for any reason the species is destroyed, the genus sadly will become extinct.
No doubt that limestone hills and its vegetation that exist in our country are ecologically important (besides their archaeological and historical importance) as they contain a disproportionately high number of endemic flora species for the limited area they cover.
And so it is all the more critical that they should be preserved and conserved for posterity - a natural living heritage that every citizen of Pahang and Malaysia can be proud of.
End of a Unique Heritage?
Recently, the Pahang state government indicated that the Jebak Puyuh limestone hill will be quarried for cement production. This is sad news indeed to nature lovers as short-term commercial exploitation is allowed preference over the archaeological, historical, and unique natural heritage aspects of this charming God-given heritage.
The Malaysian Nature Society, Malaysian Karst Society and other wildlife and nature organisations and individuals have called for the state government to rethink the decision.
We fondly hope and fervently pray that sane judgments will prevail, and that Jebak Puyuh shall remain undisturbed as a unique limestone hill with its special flora and fauna that nature built over many millions of years ago.
So to nature and cave lovers, visit the place and join the voices for its existence, before its gone forever.
Malaysia's National Flower