Langur Way, Malaysia

Completed: Built and Funded

Langur Way Canopy Walk

The Habitat Penang Hill, Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia

Height: 130 feet from Forest Floor  |  Length: 750 feet  |  Built: 2017  |  Engineering firm: Creative Quest Sdn Bhd

Threat/Opportunity:

  • Protect Taman Negara National Park – 1,677 square miles of 130 million-year-old deciduous rainforest – the second oldest forest in the world.
  • Entice local Penang residents and Asian travelers to visit the jungle and experience its wonders — instilling them with a conservation ethic.

Solution:

  • Build an architecturally imaginative walkway comprised of two ribbon bridges that can hold hundreds of people at once vs. just a few – as is the case with traditional walkways.
  • Create a luxury eco-park around the walkway to provide upscale food, beverage, trails, and an immersive environmental education experience.
  • Secure sponsorship of the project from one local family: $3 million for walkway; $20 million to create the surrounding park named “The Habitat.”

Results:

  • The International Coordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme officially designated the Penang Hill Biosphere Reserve on 15 September 2021. With this designation, the Penang Hill Biosphere Reserve will be counted among a distinguished global network of 714 Biosphere Reserves across 129 countries. This designation is a recognition of the rich natural and cultural heritage of Penang Island and an opportunity to be part of the Man and the Biosphere programme which is a unique platform for international collaboration.
  • 2 million people travel to visit The Habitat and the walkway every year.
  • 3 million local Penang residents have access to the park via a 15-minute tram ride.
  • 25 local people employed full time to run The Habitat.
  • Foundation created by sponsor to fund student research in the forest canopy.

Broader Impact/Next Steps:

  • Goal of the Cockrell family (sponsors) was to give back to their hometown of Penang. They saw canopy access as an exciting and critical way to inspire both local residents, including school children, and foreign travelers to protect a vital and vulnerable natural resource.
  • A graduate of Thunderbird Business School, Harry Cockrell sponsored Lowman to speak at several alumni events, in hopes that his model of corporate sponsorship of an eco-park might be adopted by fellow business school graduates/businessmen from other countries.

Malaysia: a Biodiversity "Hot Spot"

Penang Hill virgin jungle reserve area, on the fringe of which The Habitat sits, is believed to be part of Malaysia’s treasure trove of prehistoric rainforests dating back 130-million years, and pre-dating the Amazonian rainforests by 50+ million years. Besides its rich biodiversity, this rainforest plays an important role as a primary water catchment area for Penang island, and also provides essential ecosystem services for the sustenance of life, including climate regulation, water and nutrient recycling, air purification, carbon storage, and soil stability.

What is a "Hot Spot"?

A “Hot Spot” is a forest habitat of high biodiversity and critical environmental importance. Unfortunately, many of these ecosystems are threatened by habitat destruction, climate change, and other factors. MISSION GREEN believes that these areas could significantly benefit from a canopy walkway conservation program.

MISSION GREEN Global "Hot Spots"

Canopy Walkways and Walkway Prospect Locations

1. Amazonian Peru (1994)

2. Myakka River State Park, Florida (2000)

3. The Habitat Penang Hill, Malaysia (2017) – Built and Funded!

4. Sequoia Park Zoo, Eureka, California (2021) – Built and Funded!

5. Ranomafana State Park, Madagascar

6. Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique

7. Western Ghats, India

8. Royal Manas National Park, Bhutan

9. Baiyer River Rainforest Reserve, Papua New Guinea

10. TBD

11. TBD

12. TBD