Tabin Wildlife Refuge is a nature preserve in Sabah, eastern Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. It was created in 1984 to preserve Sabah’s disappearing wild animals. Occupying a large part of the peninsula forming the northern headland of Darvel Bay, it is located 48 kilometers east of Lahad Datu.
Tabin Wildlife Reserve (TWR or Tabin) comprises a rectangular area of approximately 122,539 ha. in the centre of the Dent Peninsula, north-east of Lahad Datu town, south of the lower reaches of the Segama River and north of the Silabukan Protection Forest Reserve. It can be reached via sealed and gravel roads from Lahad Datu in about 40 minutes. The reserve is covered with lowland dipterocarp forest.
Tabin has been declared a Wildlife Reserve primarily on account of the large number of animals inhabiting its forests, some of which are highly endangered. The three largest mammals of Sabah – the Borneo Elephant, Sumatran Rhinoceros and Tembadau (Bos javanicus), are all found within the reserve. The elephant population has been estimated to 120-300 animals in 1993. Other ungulate species include Sambar, Muntjac and Mouse Deer. In addition seven of Sabah´s eight primate species are present, among them Orang Utan and Proboscis Monkey. However, these two species occur in relatively low numbers in the reserve. The biggest predator in the reserve is the Sunda Clouded Leopard. There are also several other smaller carnivores in the reserve. Of bird species, 42 families representing 220 species have been recorded.
The land belongs to the people of Sabah. It is under government ownership and has Reserve status. The Sabah Wildlife Department is the custodian of the animals in the reserve. The Sabah Forestry Department is responsible for the trees in Tabin. In 1998, the Malaysian government privatized ecotourism programmes for Tabin and over the last few years increasing numbers of tourists have been coming to the reserve. Among activities permitted in the reserve are jungle trekking, wildlife viewing, photography and filming. Natural mud volcanoes are an important natural attraction for wildlife seeking salt, and these have become a bonus for visitors coming to see wild animals.