The largest flower in the world,reaching a diameter of about three feet,Rafflesia is found in forests in the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak. Seven out of fifteen species worldwide of Rafflesia can be found in Malaysia.
Because the Rafflesia flower is located in specific areas, and little is know about its methods for pollination and seed dispersal, it is difficult to find conservation methods. Residents in Malaysia are encouraged to save the flowers on their private property, and are encouraged to charge small entrance fees to see the flower. This little income goes a long way in conserving the flowers. In peninsular Malaysia, flower buds are sold as traditional medicines. These buds are seen as a sign of fertility, and are given to help mothers recover after birth. The over collection of these buds has not helped with conservation efforts, and has drastically reduced the number of Rafflesia in the wild.
All of these factors lead to decreasing numbers of Rafflesia. Many species of Rafflesia are vulnerable to deforestation and development, and as populations grow, Rafflesia becomes more threatened.
In Sarawak,Rafflesia can be found in Gunung Gading in Lundu,not far from Kuching,the capital city of Sarawak.
In Sabah, the flower and host vine Tetrastigma are protected under the state's Wildlife Conservation Enactment of 1997. In 2002, 44 of 83 Rafflesia found in the area were outside of designated conservation places. The beginning stages of conservation call for finding, monitoring and protecting the flowers that appear. Conservationists are hoping that complete habitat protection will come, but there is no sign of complete habitat protection in the near future.
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