Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 86.djvu/197

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By Professor D. H. CAMPBELL


WITH ships plying to the remotest lands, it is now a comparatively simple matter for the traveler to visit almost any part of the tropics. Indeed, these fascinating regions are now so easily reached that it is becoming difficult to find any country that has not been exploited to such an extent that much of the original vegetation, and with it the rarer animal forms, have been exterminated.

The planter of tea and coffee, of rubber and bananas, sweeps away the jungle in all the more accessible regions, and the traveler often must make long and arduous Journeys before he can see the country in its pristine state.

However, there are still many places of comparatively easy access which richly repay the scientific traveler for any slight inconveniences to which he may be subjected.

No part of the world is richer in interesting forms of life, both animal and vegetable, than portions of the East Indies, especially the great Malayan Archipelago. Java with its unrivaled luxuriance of vegetation and magnificent scenery, is now on the regular tourist route, and is familiar to many travelers, scientific and otherwise. The larger sister islands, Borneo and Sumatra, are not so often visited by the tourist, and still contain large tracts of unexplored country. When as a small boy I first read Wallace's wonderful book on the Malay Archipelago, I determined that some day I should see for myself the wonders of these far-off islands in the Eastern Seas. In 1905-06 a sabbatical year gave me my first experience of this beautiful region, and, so satisfactory was that visit, that I looked forward to my next sabbatical leave to renew my acquaintance with the East Indies and to extend my explorations to Sumatra and Borneo which I had not visited on my first trip.

Much the greater part of the huge island of Borneo is still an unknown wilderness whose wild inhabitants render it a perilous region for the explorer. The coastal region is fairly accessible and there is no great difficulty in reaching the main ports. Dutch Borneo, comprising the major part of the island, has been but little exploited when compared with the extraordinary development of Java.

The rest of the island, except the small native state of Bruni, is under British influence, although not strictly British territory. A recent visit to Sarawak proved to be full of novelty and interest, as in some respects the country is unique.