Indonesia’s mighty tropical rainforests and unique endangered wildlife



Indonesia’s landscape is dotted with large, dense tropical rainforests that ripple from mountain peaks to deep valleys and are home to some of the world’s most numerous and diverse plant and endemic animal species. These have been designated as protected national parks, which are scattered in the archipelago on Sumatra, Borneo (Kalimantan), Sulawesi and Papua. These are also vital, as they are also home to human settlements and are home to endangered wildlife.

With global campaigns on climate change, rainforests are recognized as valuable lungs for life on earth that must be protected for future generations. Unfortunately, with the growing population and better economic conditions, large areas of rainforest are being felled for export goods, while conflicts arise between tigers, elephants and villagers.

Scientists say Sumatra is the only place in the world where tigers, orangutans, rhinos and elephants share a habitat. The jungles of Sulawesi hide some fascinating animals that can only be found on this island. And while Borneo is the orangutan’s habitat, the island of Papua has some of the most beautiful birds in the world, and the best is none other than the bird of paradise.

A number of Indonesia’s great national parks are open for visitors to get up close and personal with these unique animals in their own habitat. To help you out and venture into the wild, here’s a quick list to get you started:






 1 | Tanjung Puting National Park in Central Kalimantan

Welcome to the jungle! Tanjung Puting, one of the most popular travel destinations in Kalimantan. It’s like a realization of a fictional jungle book adventure. Here you can imagine an explorer going on a river boat into deep tropical rainforests to meet wild orangutans and other exotic animals. The area in Kalimantan Province was originally declared a game reserve in 1935 and declared a national park in 1982. Here, the orangutans are the main reason tourists and nature lovers immerse themselves in this park, known for the meticulous and strenuous work on orangutan carried out by the orangutan research and conservation program at Camp Leaky Research Station has been. Camp Leakey is an orangutan sanctuary and the site of the longest uninterrupted study of any wild animal in the history of science.


This park is also home to some of the strangest creatures on earth, such as the weird Smurf-like proboscis monkey and seven other species of primate, clouded leopards, civet cats, the wild banteng, and many other types of wild animals that roam freely around the land. It also features some of the most glamorous species in the air, such as colorful birds, butterflies, and moths.





2 | The Tangkoko Nature Reserve in North Sulawesi


The Tangkoko Nature Reserve in North Sulawesi is a haven for some of the most unique and rare animals and plants in the world. The most famous destination in this reserve is Batuputih Park, the only place where you can look back on lovable, far-sighted goblin lemurs in its natural habitat. Goblin monkeys are known to be the smallest species of monkey in the world, although they are not a monkey at all. This creature is actually a primate, no larger than the size of a grown man’s hand. Other equally adorable and unique animals that are endemic to Sulawesi and roam freely in their natural habitat in this reserve are the black macaques, maleo birds, cuscus, hornbills and white-bellied sea eagles, which are protected by majestic ficus trees .



3 | The Way Kambas National Park

Way Kambas National Park is located in Lampung at the southernmost end of the island of Sumatra, directly opposite the ominous Krakatau volcano and comprises no less than 1,300 km2 of land on the Way Kambas River. On the one hand, this park is particularly popular as a sanctuary for Sumatran elephants, but on the other hand, it is also a refuge for a multitude of rare and endangered species, where the Sumatran tigers are released and the Sumatran rhinoceros is also home. The Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, established in Way Kambas in 1995, is a breeding center for the only two-horned rhinoceros of the Asian species. A number of rhinos were born here, and in 1985 the Elephant Training Center was established to protect elephants while providing mutual benefit to the elephants and men.

Aside from the wildlife mentioned above, the park also holds several other attractive mammals, such as the tapir, coyote, gibbon and 406 species of forest birds, various types of reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects.



4 | Ujung Kulon National Park in Banten Province

Ujung Kulon National Park is located on the southwestern tip of Java Island and across from Krakatau volcano on the Java side and is Indonesia’s first national park. The park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. Although it is the most famous national park in the country, it is rarely visited. This can be very positive as the national park has a very well preserved ecosystem of flora and fauna due to human interference. However, there are a number of islands that surround the park, such as Umang Island and others that surround it, that have become popular ecotourism destinations. Ujung Kulon is best known as the final refuge of the Java one-horned rhinoceros, one of the most endangered mammals in the world. According to the official WWF website, there are only about 60 Java rhinos left in the world. These extraordinary mammals are nocturnal, extremely rare and rarely appear in front of humans. Some locals even consider the Java rhinoceros to be a closely sacred ancient creature.

Besides the Java rhinoceros, the park is also home to many other wonderful creatures, such as the Owa Jawa monkey, the red dog (Cuon alpinus javanicus), Banteng, silvery gibbon, the black crested langur, long-tailed macaque, Java leopard Kleinkantschil, Mane Deer and many more. There are also over 72 species of reptiles and amphibians and 240 species of birds that make Ujung Kulon their home.



5 | The Alas Purwo National Park

Aside from the fact that it is considered home to some of Indonesia’s rare and threatened animal species, Alas Purwo National Park is much more than just a nature reserve. Located in the Banyuwangi District, East Java, the park is considered by locals to be the place where the earth first emerged from the ocean. The name Alas Purwo itself literally means “jungle or primordial forest”. Many in search of spiritual enlightenment and mysticism come here during the month of Suro, the Javanese New Year. For those who just want to enjoy the best of nature, Alas Purwo offers incredible beaches, amazing wildlife, as well as savannas, mangroves and monsoon forests. The park is considered to be the most natural tropical rainforest and one of the oldest in Indonesia. Thousands of migratory birds visit its pristine forests each year and turtles come to lay their eggs on the secluded beaches.







Before you venture out into the wild with confidence, please consider the following tips.

  • your socks to minimize insect, leech, and mite bites.
  • Bring good binoculars. Without these, the most amazing birds will look like a smudge from a distance.
  • Walk slowly, quietly, and in small groups (no more than 5) so that animals are less disturbed by your presence.
  • Walk near fruit trees, especially figs, or ponds and streams. These are the most likely places to sit and wait for wildlife to come to you, especially birds.
  • Pay attention to noises – the hum of insects, bird calls, rustling in the undergrowth. Often times, these clues are the first clue that something is about to happen.
  • Go early. Most birds and many mammals are active in the morning and their movements drop off by noon. The afternoon is never as energetic as the morning, but these are good times to visit streams and water springs.
  • When looking at monkeys, allow yourself to be approached on your own terms. If you bend down and avoid looking directly into their eyes, they will become less inhibited. Do not chase or feed monkeys. No matter how innocent they look, wild monkeys bite and carry dangerous diseases
  • .Always hire a guide to take you through the forest, especially if you are an inexperienced explorer. Still, if you’re an expert or researcher, hire a local guide because they know the area and its people best.
  • Prepare yourself with the necessary medication, such as asthma inhalers, allergy medication, etc.
  • Respect the forest! Do not raise its inhabitants or destroy the vegetation. Don’t pollute anything. Bring an empty bag to keep all of your trash in.
  • Bring a light snack and water to drink as you could be in the woods all day.
  • Turn off your cell phones or any kind of electronics or devices that make noises that may surprise forest residents.
  • Stick to the rules of the locals before exploring the forest.



10 reasons to visit the magnificent Komodo National Park


The huge and impressive Komodo National Park lies between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores in East Nusatenggara Province. In 1986 the park was declared a World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Komodo National Park comprises a total of 29 volcanic islands (including the 3 main islands of Rinca, Padar, and Komodo) and is home to around 2,500 Komodo dragons and other land animals such as various species of reptiles, birds, and mammals. The park’s terrain is uniquely diverse and consists of mountain slopes, tropical rainforests, grassland savannas, and pristine white sand beaches that are home to an abundance of marine biodiversity. The marine environment in Komodo National Park is one of the world’s richest in flora and fauna and is still relatively undiscovered. The 2,000 square meter park (which also includes protected land and water) is recognized as a world priority nature reserve and offers a number of natural attractions.

For those new to travel to this wonderful piece of Indonesia, here are 10 tips to help you explore this great national park.


1  The Komodo-Dragons

The Komodo dragon (or Varanus komodoensis) is the largest lizard and reptile in the world. It is about 3 meters long and weighs over 70 kg. The dragons are characterized by their enormous size, flat heads, curved legs, long thick tails and forked tongues. Komodos can run and swim up to 20 km / h and have excellent visibility, allowing them to see objects from 300 m away. These reptiles are predators, carnivores and can eat 80% of their weight in one feed. The Komodo can consume very large prey such as water buffalo, deer, carrion, pigs and even humans. It has a unique way of killing by biting its prey – especially if it is a large water buffalo – surrounding it in a group, and then patiently waiting for the venom in its saliva to slowly kill its victim. Then the prey is completely shredded and devoured with bones and everything. If the prey escapes, it usually dies within 24 hours due to the poisoning of the blood from the toxic and bacteria-pollinated saliva.

These Jurassic and majestic creatures, only found in the world in Komodo National Park and the surrounding Flores Island, are the main attraction of the park. While this animal is fantastic to see, visitors are advised not to keep your distance and exercise caution. Try to always be accompanied by a ranger and follow all of the ranger’s instructions when around these dangerous lizards, although they can look pretty good-natured.


2  Climate & Geography

The climate in Komodo National Park is one of the driest in Indonesia. The national park receives little to no rainfall for about 8 months of the year and is heavily affected by monsoon rains. The daytime temperatures during the dry season from May to October are an average of 40 degrees. Because of this dry climate, the land is rough with rocky hills and plant species are limited to grass, shrubs, orchids and trees. In contrast, the marine area has a rich and colorful landscape. The national park belongs to the coral reef in the Asia-Pacific region and is full of seagrass meadows, colorful coral reefs and dense mangrove forests.



3  Land & marine wildlife

In addition to the magnificent Komodo dragon, the Komodo National Park is the habitat of various other land and sea inhabitants. Visitors can witness these fascinating animals roam freely in their natural grounds.

Terrestrial fauna that can be found here includes a wide variety of reptiles, mammals, and birds. These include 12 species of snakes, 9 species of lizards, various frogs, the Timor deer (the main prey of the Komodo), horses, water buffalo, wild boar, the endemic Rinca rat, fruit bats, the orange-footed scrub poultry and over 40 species of birds.

The marine fauna is amazingly diverse, including over 1,000 species of fish, 70 types of sponges, 10 types of dolphins, 6 types of whales, dugongs, green turtles and different types of sharks, giant manta rays, stingrays, marine reptiles and and occasionally crustaceans migrating whales.


4  Dynamic dive sites

Komodo National Park is conveniently located in the heart of the coral triangle in the Asia-Pacific region and is home to one of the richest marine environments in the world. Divers, scientists and photographers from all over the world come to this national park to experience the amazing biodiversity found in one of the many dive sites – the larger islands of Rinca, Komodo and Padar, along with the smaller islands that surround them. make up at least 100 world class dive sites.

The area is famous for its violent currents, torrential tides and whirlpools that bring rich nutrients from the depths of the Indian Ocean to create ideal conditions for thousands of species of tropical fish and corals.

The dive sites offer excellent opportunities to observe manta rays, sharks and dugongs.

Diving in Komodo National Park puts you in the heart of the world’s most dynamic marine environment.

Due to the strong currents that can bring divers into the vast open Indian Ocean, as well as the huge marine mammals that pass here, visitors are strongly advised to seek advice from reputable and experienced divers and avoid those who lack basic safety measures.


5  Hiking on Padar Island

The breathtakingly beautiful landscape on Padar Island is second to none. This island is the perfect place for a scenic hike and spectacular photos. If you climb one of the many grassy hills, you will be amazed by the beautiful green, white, and blue hues that surround it. The lookout point from the highest peak gives you breathtaking views of four crescent-shaped glittering beaches and an abundance of photos that will make your family and friends green with envy. A hike to the top of this mountain takes about 2 to 3 hours. Prepare and bring comfortable shoes, clothes, water, and sunscreen as the sun can get hot.


6  Pink beach on Komodo island

This unique and charming beach got its name from the mining of red coral in combination with the pristine white sand. Also known as Pantai Merah, Pink Beach is one of seven in the world to have a bright, soft pink tint. The panoramic view of the lush green hills, pristine turquoise waters, bright pink sand and azure skies will take your breath away.

Pink Beach also has some spectacular snorkeling and diving spots. The pristine marine landscape is densely decorated with a multitude of biota. The underwater garden is home to hundreds of soft and hard corals and reefs that live with different species of marine fauna.

As Komodo Island is still inhabited by the Komodo dragons, visitors should exercise caution on the beach and in the water. It is highly recommended that you come here with an authorized guide or ranger.


7  The traditional village on Mesa Island

Mesa Island is the perfect destination for visitors to get a glimpse of the traditional life of the remarkable sea gypsies (also known as Bajau). The laid-back fishing village has a population of around 1,500 and visitors can witness how locals go about their daily chores such as drying cucumbers, processing shellfish, and preparing a variety of seafood. Mesa Islanders are very friendly, and children often flock to greet new faces. Visitors will also be able to see the charming traditional stilt houses that soar over the sand and shore.


8 Snorkel off Kanawa Island

Visitors come to Kanawa Island to relax, swim, and experience the fabulous snorkeling spots. The view of the water is crystal clear and it is even possible for visitors to see the fertile marine life above the water. Snorkelers can start their underwater adventure right from the jetty, as the sea is very calm and strong waves are protected by the surrounding coral reefs. Be enchanted by the colorful schools of tropical fish, mystical corals and unique marine fauna such as stingrays, dolphins and turtles.

The island has poor telephone and Internet reception and transactions on this island are strictly paid for in cash. Visitors to this island are encouraged to bring a reasonable amount of cash to cover all necessary expenses.


9 Sunset on Kalong Island

The name of this unique island, Kalong, comes from the local language for giant fly bats. The bats, which are the main attraction of this island, create a fascinating sunset spectacle like no other. As dusk approaches, visitors are invited to witness how thousands of these mystical creatures migrate from the island to the backdrop of breathtaking sunset tones. The overwhelming flutter and sound of these bats escaping the mangrove forest and soaring into the sunset will leave you with an unforgettable beautiful memory.


10 Komodo on the island of Rinca

Due to the undeveloped nature of this island and the sparse pedestrian traffic, Rinca Island is the perfect place for those who want to catch a glimpse of the exotic Komodo dragon. Visitors will disembark at Koh Kima jetty and take them to the Loh Buaya campsite, where Komodo dragons can sometimes be seen. A hike across the island will reveal that thick forest gives way to grassy fields and a few scattered waterholes where Komodo dragons hunt for prey. If you’re lucky, visitors may see other land animals such as white water buffalo, Timor deer, wild horses, and various types of tropical birds. Due to the wild nature of the Komodo kite, visitors who come here must hire the service of an experienced ranger. Prepare light clothing and sunscreen, as the climate on Rinca Island can be quite dry and very hot.



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