According to academic studies, most of the world’s largest flowers (genus Rafflesia) are now on the brink of extinction. This is rather alarming as most of the 42 known species are now at risk of extinction.
Urgent action is needed to protect these remarkable flowers. A combined approach to conservation is recommended, including greater habitat protection and support for local community action groups.
Rafflesia Flowers are Now on the Brink of Extinction
The world’s second-largest flower, Rafflesia, has long been known and celebrated in Malaysian and Malaysian Borneo, where it is an essential source of revenue from ecotourism for Malaysia.
Several nature-related tour companies will organise special trips to areas with prior contact with local parks, reserves or even the village people who pre-inform them about any flower blooms.
This way, tourists will be brought straight to the flowering Rafflesia to observe and photograph this majestic and unique flower. When dealing with the local village people, a small token is usually given to the person who finds the flower.
In Peninsular Malaysia, the Rafflesia flower, known as “Bunga Pakma” (local Malay name), is native from northern Perak south to Kelantan, Pahang, and Terengganu. Over the years, Rafflesia tourism has also become more prevalent in this region. Thirteen species have been recorded in Malaysia, of which eight occur in Peninsular Malaysia and five in the states of Sabah and Sarawak (Borneo).
Rafflesia habitats usually belong to the states rather than the federal government; each state has the authority to designate land status. However, in Peninsular Malaysia, most forests are managed by state forestry departments; therefore, most fall under federal law.
In Bornean Malaysia, each state has its own regulations. In Sarawak, all Rafflesia species are listed as “Total Protected Plants” under the Wildlife Protection Ordinance of 1998 by the Commissioner of Law Revision, Sarawak.
While in Sabah, all Rafflesia species and their host Tetrastigma species are listed under Total Protected Plants under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997. For more information, you can read this very detailed article on the Rafflesia Flowers now on the brink of extinction, done by a group of academic authors.