Penan picture archive online

April 22, 2008

This page was created in 2008 and may contain language which is now outdated.

A collection of hundreds of photographs of the Penan tribe of Sarawak is being made available online for the first time. The pictures were taken by Bruno Manser, a Swiss supporter of the Penan, who went missing in the rainforests of Sarawak in the year 2000.

The Penan are hunter-gatherers living in the Malaysian part of the island of Borneo. Many of the Penan now live in settled communities, but around 300 continue to live a completely nomadic life in the forest. Even the settled Penan rely on the forest for almost all of their needs.

For more than 20 years the Penan have been struggling to protect their forest from logging, particularly by the Malaysian company Samling.

Bruno Manser spent several years living with the Penan, and helped them to draw attention to the destruction of their forests in the international media. He disappeared during his last visit to Sarawak in 2000, and is presumed dead.

Last year, Penan leader Kelesau Naan also went missing, and was later found dead. Kelesau was known for his opposition to logging, and his relatives believe he may have been murdered.

View Bruno Manser's pictures