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WILDLIFE & NATURE RESERVES
A vast archipelago with a total of 17,508 islands has made Indonesia the home of a large variety of plant and animal life, both terrestrial and aquatic. As the land mass is divided into islands, often mountainous, many terrestrial species are endemic, originating and living in one particular island or part of a larger island. Zoologists divide Indonesia into three zones. Zone I, nearest the Asian continent, was defined by British Naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace in the 1 9th century.
Climate did not appear to be the deciding factor in his theory Wallace postulated that because the islands of Sumatra, Java and Kalimantan were joined to Asia by the now submerged Sunda Shelf, the Indo Malayan fauna had not spread beyond the shelf's eastern boundary which came to be known as the Wallace Line.
Zone 11, is the intermediate zone between the Indo-Malayan zone and Zone 111 where
Australian animal and plant life predominate. Sulawesi, in particular has an unusually high
proportion of endemic species and there is even a marked difference between
the flora and avifauna of Zone I and Zone III.
In Zone 111, both the fauna and flora are predominantly Australian in character and affinity, as these islands share the same continental shelves, the Sahul Shelves with Australia.
Most famous of the rare fauna of Indonesia are the Komodo dragons, the giant lizards which are found only on Komodo and neighbouring islands, and believed to be the only one of their kind in the world. The one homed Java rhinoceros is found only on the western tip of Java and under the threat of extinction, but has now grown in number at the Ujung Kulon nature reserve. The Java's Tiger is a very rare species, of which only five remain in easternmost Java. There are also the orangutan Iman of the forst) apes which are found in Kalimantan and Sumatra, the banteng wild ox of Java, the rusa deer, the anoa (dwarf buffalo), babirusa Ismall wild pig with curved tusks) and distinctive civets found in Sulawesi. In an effort to preserve rare species of the national fauna and flora, numerous reserves and park have been established in all the provinces of Indonesia under the administration of the Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation, or better known as PHPA.
Indonesia belongs to one of the most volcanic and seismically active regions in the world, with more than 400 volcanoes of which 128 are active, with 70 recorded eruptions in historic times. The soil-rejuvenating effect of volcanic eruptions has contributed to the fact that victims of threatened areas have time and again returned to their stricken land. So, the Volcanological Service has drawn hazard maps of volcanic areas so that early warnings can be issued for the evacuation of the people on time. Mountaineering clubs have in the past few years sprung up in Jakarta, Bandung and other big cities and university towns.
Among the most popular mountains for mountain climbing are the twin volcanoes Gede and Pangrango in West Java, Semeru and Kelud in East Java, Merapi in Central Java and Rinjani in Lombok. Expeditions have also been made to the perennial snow-covered summit of the Jayawijaya Range Carstensz Top) in
Irian Jaya. Indonesia's internationally best-known volcano is perhaps the Krakatau in the Sunda strait, midway between Java and Sumatra, whose calamitous 1883 eruption was commemorated in 1983.
Indonesia lies within the botanical region of Melanesia, covering the Malay peninsula south of the Isthmus of Kra, the Indonesian archipelago, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and IrianJaya, with the exception of the Solomon islands. For the most part, this region is covered with the luxuriant growth of the characteristic rain forest vegetation, a type of ever-wet vegetation containing a large number of timber species and harboring various kinds of epiphytes, saprophytes and lianas. These characteristic features and the high number of species endemic to this region make the flora of Indonesia different from that of neighbouring continental Asia and Australia, as well as from the flora of other tropica areas in the world. The richness of the Melanesian region, of which Indonesia represents a major portion, is reflected in the accommodation of close to 40,000 species of plants, or about 10 to 12% of the estimated number of plant species of the whole world. Moreover, the flora making up the Indonesian vegetation abounds in timber species. Approximately 6,000 species of Indonesian plants are used by the people as a source of raw material for the making of traditional herbal medicines or as an indispensable part of traditional rituals and ceremonies.
Permits are necessary to visit the nature reserve which can be obtained from the PHPA office in Bogor or local offices. Facilities in the reserves are generally undeveloped and mast travel has to be done of foot or horseback. Some of the more important ones are:
Gunung Leuser reserve is 830,500 hectares in size and 500 to 3,500 metres above sea level, and can be reached by road from Medan, North Sumatra. Two research stations within the reserve function as an Orangutan Rehabilitation Station, providing a rare opportunity to see these great apes at close range.
A boat trip on the Alas River which flows through the reserve is a good way to see the rain forest habitat of endangered species of rhinos, orangutans, tigers and elephants. There are also gibbons, leaf monkeys, jungle cats, forest deer, otters, hornbills and arguspheasants. Serown (goat antelope) live in the mountain forests at higher altitude.
Ujung Kulon and Krakatau
The total reserve area is 62,500 hectares and stands 570 metres above sea level. By road from Jakarta or Bogor to Labuan on Java's west coast, or by ferry from Sumatra (to Anyer, north of Labuan), and thence by hired motorized fishing boat, taking a minimum of 5 hours from Labuan to Peucang Island. Two rest houses on Peucang offer limited furnished accommodation. Book first at the PHPA office at Labuan and take canned food along. The mainland reserve area is the last refuge for the 45-50 remaining Java rhinos, and is almost the last lowland rain forest in Java. Other wildlife species, gibbons, macaques, leaf monkeys, deer, pigs, bantengs, (Java's wild ox), and 222 species of bird species. Idyllic beaches, seascapes, and good coral. The Krakatau volcano, 40 kilometres from Labuan, is best visited from here on a one-day trip.
Only 100 metres high this reserve is only 530 hectares in size, and can be reached by road from Bandung. Public transport, guest house accommodation and food are all available. This reserve includes beaches, coral gardens, caves and nature walks. Intersting legends are associated with various topographical features. There are remains of a Javanese World War 11 fortification. This area is good for bird lovers.
By road from Palembang or Tanjung Karang or from the Java Sumatra ferry port at Bakauheni. The reserve area includes most of the south western tip of Sumatra totaling 365,000 hectares, at a height of 1781 metres. There are turtle rookeries on the western beach, Good forests both at lowlands and mountains in the northern end of the reserve. Wildlife includes gibbons, elephants, tapirs, pigs, deer and the occasional tiger.
The reserve start at sea level and reaches 1,223 metres in an area of 5 hectares. By (rough) road, go from Genteng or Glenmore, both on the main Jember- Banyuwangi road. From Genteng, It's 70 kilometres to the south coast where there is a rest house (bedding, food, service) at Rajegwesi Bay, 2 kilometres from the reserve's eastern boundary. Coffee plantations occupy much of the lowland and thick forests. The steeper parts include precipitous headlands. Sukamade beach is a fine turtle rookery of its kind. Two species of the parasitic Rafflesia flower are fauna in Meru Betiri, which is the last refuge for the nearly extinct Java tiger.
Tongkoko - Duo Saudara
The reserve starts at sea level and reaches 1,109 metres in an area of 4,446 sq. metres.
By road from Manado, North Sulawesi across the peninsula to Bitting harbour, then by boat. Two small guard posts within the reserve offer basic shelter, food and camping equipment. There is interesting volcanic scenery, and wildlife including anoas, macaques, babi-rusas, tarsiers, pygmy squirels, cucusea (marsupial phalangers), and hornbills. Megapode birds, lay their eggs in areas of volcanically heated sands.
The reserve covers 205,000 hectares at 30 metres above sea level. By air from Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan to Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan (PHPA Office) and then by road to Kumai l 15 kilometres), thense by boat on the Kumai and Sekunir Rivers into the reserve. This is an interesting boat trip through swamp forest full of bird life, particularly waterfowl; the Bornean proboscis monkeys, so called from the large pendulous nose of the male, easily visible in the riverine trees. In the northern part of the resserve is a "rehabilitation station" for Bornean orang utans which is also the study area of resident scientists. There is a guest house at their camp. Advanced reservations are necessary. Take canned food along.
Bromo-Tengger and Semeru
The total area covers over 8,000 hectares at 1,500 to 3,676 metres above sea level. Usually reached from the north by road from Pasuruan to either Tosari or Ngadisari. Both villages just below the rim of the Tengger crater offer some accommodation as well as horses and guides. There is also a small hotel at Cemara Lawang above Ngadisari keep track only). The floor of the Tengger caldera is a vast "sand-sea" 10 kilometres across. Cones of the active Bromo volcano and others rise from here.
Upland to the south shows three lakes, a small rest house at Mt. Semeru, the highest mountain and still active volcano in Java. Though under PHPA jurisdiction, no special permit is at present required for a visit to this particular reserve.
The altitude ranges from 700 to 2,000 metres over an area of 131,000 hectares. By road from Palu, Central Sulawesi south to Kulawi 170 kilometres) or Gimpu l 130), then on foot with guides/hired porters, camping gear and food stuffs over the 1800 metres ridge into the valleys beyond. There are no facilities, but accommodation can be found in occasional villages of the Western Toraja people, who travel the paths into and out of their isolated valleys regularly to trade. The reserve includes fine lowland and mountain forests, many streams, much wildlife especially the anoa (swarf buffalo), babi rusa, and black macaques. Interesting megaliths are found in the valleys.
The reserve covers 200,000 hectares and goes up to 340 metres in altitude. By road from Samarinda, East Kalimantan to Sangata, 80 kilometres to the north, by boat up to the Sangata river. In spite of timber exploitation and the logging access road, the reserve still contains large areas of good lowland rain forests with except, by request, those of timber companies near the coast. Boat trips with side excursions by foot offer chances to see some of the hardwood forests of East Kalimantan.
Park and Gardens
The mast common form of the traditional Indonesian private garden, the so called pekarangan, differs considerably from that familiar to the West. Still found in its old form mainly in rural areas, this type of garden usually grows fruit, medical herbs and other useful plants such as bamboo. It is often marked off from neighbouring lots by low hedges or bamboo fences but seldom entirely enclosed for privacy. Closer to the conventional eastern concept of a garden and of greater interest aesthetically, is the big "pelataran" garden which surrounds the homes of the aristocracy and other members of the social elite in Java. Usually covered with carefully brushed river sand and shaded by tall cinnamon trees, these aristocratic gardens exhume an air of quiet dignity and bear a character all their own. Unlike the small common gardens, they are normally entirely surrounded by high walls to provide complete privacy. Similar in concept to the "pelataran" is the alun-alun, the traditional town square which usually found in front of the ruling royal or princely house, or the highest local government administrator, the Bupati. Western influence has to a certain extent pushed aside the old traditional concept and nowadays most town gardens and all parks apart from the alun-alun are more, or entirely, a realization of the modern western concept. A further development has been the establishment of national and tourist parks for the purpose of conservation, research and recreation in many parts of the country.
The Bogor Botanic Gardens
The most renowned of public gardens and one which has won international acclaim, is the Bogor Botanic Gardens, 60 kms south of Jakarta.
Laid out initially at the orders of the British Lieutenant Governor Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles with the help of experts from the Kew Gardens, the Bogor Botanic Gardens were inaugurated in 1817, after the end of the five-year British interregnum, by Dutch Governor General Van Der Capellen. It covers an area of 87 hectares [about 217,5 acres) and has a collection of more than 15,000 native and foreign plant species, including orchids and the giant Rafflesia which blooms only once a year.
Affiliated with the Botanic Gardens are the Herbarium Bogoriense containing preserved plant species, the Zoological Museum and the Treub Laboratory.
Branches of the Bogor gardens are the Cibodas Mountain Garden, the Purwodadi Gardens in East Java and the Eka Karya Garden in Bali.
The Cibodas Mountain Garden
Founded in 1862 for the study of mountain flora and fauna, it covers an area of about 80 hectares [about 200 acres) at an elevation of 1,200 metres on the slope of the Gede volcano, West Java. Attached to this garden is a forest reserve of more than 1,200 hectares 13,000 acres) extending up to the summit of Mt. Pangrango 13,000 m) and the crater of Mt. Gede, east of Bogor. The Cibodas collection includes imports from a number of sub-tropical countries.
The Purwodadi Garden
This garden in East Java was founded in 1914 for the study of plants growing under relatively dry climatic conditions. It is situated on the lower slopes of Mt. Arjuna at an altitude of about 3000 m and covers an area of 85 hectares (212.5 acres).
The Eka Karya Garden
Founded in 1959 for the study of the mountain flora of West Nusa Tenggara (The western part of the Lesser Sunda Islands). Located at Candi Kuning on the slopes of Mt. Pohen in Bali, it covers an area of 50 hectares l 125 acres) at an altitude ranging from 1,250 to 1,450 m above sea-level. Attached to the garden are three tracts of nature reserve covering an area of about 1,600 hectares 14,000 acres)
The Sibolangit Garden
This North Sumatra garden was founded in 1974 and is situated at Sibolangit on the slopes of the volcano Sibayak at an altitude of about 500 m, it covers an area of 20 hectares 150 acres) and has a forest reserve of about 100 hectares 1250 acres) with an altitude of between 300 and 550 m. Though historically falling under the jurisdiction of the Bogor Botanic Gardens, the Sibolangit Garden has for practical reasons, been given an independent status.
The Setia Mulia Garden
Founded in 1955 at Padangtinggi on the slopes of the Bukit Barisan mountain range in West Sumatra. It covers an area of 60 hectares (150 acres) at an elevation of 350 to 900 m. Attached to it is a nature reserve of about 3,000 hectares 17,500 acres).
Apart from those in the Bogor Botanic Gardens, which serve a mainly scientific and experimental purpose, commercial orchid gardens are found in Jakarta at Slipi and in the Taman Mini Indonesia Park. produces some of the most exotic archid species, including the black orchid (bualagna pandurata) which grows in the Kersik Luway reserve of East Kalimantan.
Jakarta's Ragunan Zoo is the best-landscaped zoo in Indonesia, providing a close- to-native habitat for more than 3,600 animal and bird species, among which are such protected species as the prehistoric giant komodo lizard, the man-like orangutan ape, the babi-rusa and many others.
Established in 1965, this zoo occupies an area of 185 hectares 1462,5 acres).
The Surabaya zoo in the Wonokromo district is deservedly second in reputation to the Ragunan zoo, and like that of the latter its collection of animals is considered to be among the most complete in Southeast Asia. Of special interest in the Surabaya Zoo is the section on nocturnal animals.
Smaller zoos are found in Yogyakarta, Bukittinggi and Bandung. The first also serves as a botanic garden with species representative of the local flora and those of other parts of Indonesia. The Bukittinggi zoo presents a good sample of the local fauna of the area.
People's Recreation Parks
These are establishments for the purpose of entertainment and are found in many of the big cities of Indonesia. They are a kind of permanent night fairs presenting the usual games stalls and restaurants, nightly performances of local folk theatre, local handicrafts and other attractions of popular character. One of the oldest and best-known entertainment parks is the Sriwedari park in Solo (Surakarta) which offers nightly performances of popular wayang wong plays.
Opened in 1975, this 120 hectares 1300 acres) park called Taman Mini Indonesia Indah [Taman Mini for short) presents the cultural and ethnic diversity of the Indonesian archipelago in permanent exhibits of traditional architecture representing the 27 provinces of the country. The pavillions are life size replicas of the most famous samples of traditional architecture found in each province. Moreover, the pavillions are set within a man-made environment approaching as closely as possible to the native natural environment of the province in question.
Performances of traditional art and folk theatre are held regularly. Museum Indonesia gives people an insight to the diverse life-styles of the various Indonesian ethnic people. Its collection includes such national treasures as gamelan musical instruments, traditional costumes and household utensils and contemporary arts and crafts.
It also has its own aviary with about 600 bird species native to Indonesia, and an orchid garden with representatives of about 3,000 species.