The centre is surrounded by a mixture of lowland dipterocarp forest types, ranging from primary forest to disturbed secondary forest, in a matrix landscape with significant human impact including villages, small scale agriculture and oil palm plantations.
Species present in the sanctuary include:
- ten species of primates (for example orang-utan, proboscis monkey, Bornean gibbon, slow loris)
- the Bornean elephant
- carnivores such as the clouded leopard
- other cat and civet species
- the sun bear and binturong
- all eight species of hornbill found in Borneo can be observed here
- over 300 other bird species including the rare storm's stork and the endangered Oriental darter
- herpetofauna are also abundant including salt water crocodile, monitor lizard, freshwater terrapin, reticulated python, king cobra and many others.
The invertebrate and plant diversity in the sanctuary is also very high.
In addition to forest activities, other relevant features include the world famous Gomantong cave system, where edible nest swiftlets and bat roosts can potentially be studied, which is an example of the limestone karst system - a strong feature of the landscape in the Kinabatangan floodplain.