Gunung Kanthan,


Conserving the unique flora and fauna of Gunung Kanthan.

Gunung Kanthan is a unique karst ecosystem surrounded by complex microhabitats which comprise of natural and man-made landscapes.

Gua Kanthan is measured at approximately 270m in length. It is made of two main chambers, with the general floor level at 79m above mean sea level, and its highest ceiling measuring 109m from the stream level. A window at the height of 32m from the floor allows the sunray to illuminate one portion of the cave.

Gua Kanthan has been declared as part of the Kinta Valley Geopark, a National Geopark in October 2018, hosting various endangered species of flora and fauna. The Kanthan Biodiversity Conservation Initiative (KBCI) is focused on the conservation of the unique flora and fauna found in the area.


Unique karst ecosystem in Malaysia

Gunung Kanthan is a unique karst ecosystem surrounded by complex microhabitats of natural and man-made landscapes. Gunung Kanthan is categorised into four vegetation zones: ground vegetation, hill slopes, summits and aquatic habitats.

The karst biology possesses fascinating characteristics, including high alkaline and thin soil layers with variable climatic conditions that provide various ecological niches which supports a high diversity of plants and animals.

The limestone vegetation consists several limestone specialist species such as small herbs and rock-face species: Pandanus sppp., calcicole cycad, orchids, palms, as well as common trees and shrubs.

Vegetation Zonation On
Gunung Kanthan

Ground Vegetation
  • Lowland mixed forests
  • Crops/plantations
  • Base of hills
  • Talus slopes
  • Gullies and valleys
  • Disturbed areas/ ruderal habitat

Aquatic Habitats
  • Closed water (pond, lake, swamp)
  • Open water (stream, cave river, canal)

  • Summits with considerable soil cover
  • Summits with none or very little soil cover

Hill Slopes
  • Hill slopes to about 60° steepness
  • Cliffs and near-vertical slopes

Findings from the Gunung Kanthan biodiversity study

We worked with Institute of Biological Science, University Malaya (UM) to develop the foundation of Kanthan’s biodiversity inventory for flora and fauna through a series of comprehensive biodiversity surveys in 2014.


Species of flora and fauna identified

Discover Our Findings

Gunung Kanthan is an isolated limestone habitat bordered by croplands, fishponds, rubber and oil plantations. There have been over 1,200 limestone floristic compositions that have been recorded in Peninsular Malaysia, with roughly 21% of accounted limestone flora being endemic.

The structural and physiognomic features of limestone vegetation depend on the microhabitats and interrelation between soils, substrate and climate.

Nurturing Endemic Species

Other Flora Species

Limestone hills in the tropic are regarded as “arks” of biodiversity as they contain high levels of endemic species of flora and fauna. The degradation of forests on and around limestone hills can result in negative impacts on the hill’s biodiversity. We have collaborated with various organisations to ensure the environmental protection and sustainable development at the Kanthan Quarry site through knowledge sharing, capacity building and transfer of environmentally sound technologies.

Home to various unique species

Other Fauna Species


Gunung Kanthan, a tropical limestone karst, is unexceptionally accountable to many invertebrates where some of them may be unique and even endemic. Despite their size, these tiny creatures undeniably play eminent roles in maintaining and balancing ecosystems.

Frogs And Toads

A total of 20 species of amphibians were recorded from Gunung Kanthan and its adjacent areas. The survey was made mostly at night by visual encounter sampling and vocal recognition. There are four species of amphibians listed as Protected (P) species according to the Wildlife Act 2010 (Act 716). All of them were found at the surrounding forested area of Gua Kanthan.


In total, 23 reptiles comprising of lizards, geckos, snakes and freshwater turtle were discovered in Gunung Kanthan. Among the reptiles found, two species of turtle namely Southeast Asian Box Turtle (Cuora amboinensis) and Southeast Asian Soft-shell Turtle (Amyda cartilaginea) were listed as Vulnerable in IUCN Redlist.






A total of 9 species from six families of local fishes were recorded in Gunung Kanthan and its vicinity.


The Gunung Kanthan limestone area supports high species richness of birds. The area serves as a refuge for several endemic, threatened and protected species of animals and plants. Although the area is rather disturbed with mixed vegetation that includes limestone habitat, secondary forest, orchards, grassland, and water bodies, these habitats provide niches for a variety of bird species. The protection of birds is vital for the ecosystem. Gunung Kanthan area also serves as a preferred feeding and resting grounds for migratory bird species.

The Kanthan Biodiversity Conservation Initiative

Currently, the Kanthan Biodiversity Conservation Initiative has five ongoing biodiversity projects, each specially curated to protect and conserve a significant species found at Gunung Kanthan.