This famous Ficus virens known as the “Kota Belud Giant “was recently deliberately burnt.
The Kota Belud Giant grows on the floodplain of the Tempassuk River around 3 km from Kota Belud town in NW Sabah approx. one and a half hours drive north of Kota Kinabalu.
Locals said that this tree was burnt because it was believed that spirits associated with the tree were affecting the health of an old woman living nearby.
Many Borneans of all communities believe that fig trees especially large fig trees host both good and bad spirits known as datuks, hantu or pontianak.
The Kota Belud Giant was believed to be one of the largest (widest) trees in Borneo when it was first discovered in 2016.
The Kota Belud Giant is still alive as can be seen from the spouting branches but it seems unlikely ever to return to it’s former glory.
This is a tragic end to this wonderful tree which was fast becoming an “must see” fig tree for tourists visiting Kota Belud.
Photos and information with thanks to Anthea Phillipps