It’s March 3rd, Happy World Wildlife Day! It’s a celebration full of livelihoods of communities whose lives depend on the rainforest. It’s a means of valuing wildlife, endangered species, and the societies that keep these nature sites alive. Let’s celebrate World Wildlife Day by exploring Indonesia’s bio-diverse environments and the creatures that reside in them.
Here are 10 exotic animals you can sight in Indonesia!
Generally a shy creature, the Sumatran Tiger lives in the lush wildlife of Sumatra. Unfortunately, these iconic cats are now considered critically endangered, with only a few hundred living in Indonesia. Out of the estimated 400 total Sumatran Tigers living in the wild, over 150 of these animal species are found in and around Kerinci Seblat National Park, West Sumatra. Besides a designed trek adventure to observe these Sumatran Tigers, there’s much to see on this site.
Kerinci Seblat National Park is a rainforest wonderland with 13,791 sq km of land. Explore the lush forest as you uncover nature’s mysterious. Then trek its Mt. Kerinci or observe Gunung Tujuh Lake. The numerous landscapes surrounding this Sumatra’s largest national park will amaze you.
With their two horns and armor plating-like skin, it’s hard to miss this Sumatran Rhinoceros! Living only in Way Kambas National Park, there are only around 80 animals left. All of which can only be found in Indonesia. Its habitat of the savannah is perfect in Way Kambas National Park with an astounding 1,300 kilometers of total exploration!
Besides Sumatran Rhinoceros, there is also a species of Javan Rhinoceros (known by the locals as Badak Jawa or Badak Sunda) which is protected in their natural habitat in Ujung Kulon National Park due to their scarcity.
They don’t call orangutans “man of the forest” without reason! These highly intelligent mammals roam the rainforests of Indonesia. Many of these orangutans are protected in Tanjung Puting National Park. They climb from one tree to another with their long, strong arms, finding lychees, mangosteens, and figs to eat. You can observe these warm creatures in Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan. Learn the ways of these primates and how you can protect them from being extinct on the site.
Unlike other elephant species, which have a large body, Borneo Elephants are quite smaller. Their distinctive small size makes them cuter and attractive for animal lovers. You can take a trekking tour to Nunukan Forest, Central Kalimantan, to observe this species.
Bali Starling -- or known by the locals as Jalak Bali -- is gorgeous birds endemic within the Bali islands. Their distinctive white feathers with striking blue skin around the eyes are quite hypnotizing. Try and spot this bird in the unspoiled beauty of West Bali National Park. This land stretch offers a natural paradise with its thick green forests, picturesque mountain range, crystal clear blue water, and pristine beaches! You can explore this national park as you birdwatch, one of Indonesia’s haven for nature.
Maleo, a small yet unique bird species, can only be discovered in Indonesia. This tiny animal of about 55 cm is easily spotted by its black feathers and yellow skin around the eyes. An endemic animal to the Sulawesi Island lives in the rich forest, specifically in the Lore Lindu National Park. This park is home to numerous other animals, conserving around 80% of all aves species endemic to the Sulawesi island. It’s a true paradise for birdwatchers around the world!
Tinier than the previous animal on this list, Pygmy Tarsier is just the size of your fist. This nocturnal animal, one of the smallest known primates, is endemic only around Central Sulawesi. Watch them jump from one area to another in Tangkoko National Park - conservation for these adorable wild beings. The area showcases the vast tropical trees, rolling hills, and savannah. It’s no wonder this natural site is home to 47 other endemic species!
Another mammal you can observe in Tangkoko National Park is the Black Macaque. What’s unique about this monkey is its black crest that lays on top of its head. Their thick black fur with bright yellow eyes are easy to spot in your exploration. So when you’re in this national park, be sure to bring your binoculars and glimpse this primate jump from one tree to another!
What’s a popular dinosaur-like reptile that roams in Indonesia? It’s the great Komodo Dragon, of course! These prehistoric creatures can grow up to 3 meters in length and over 150 kg in weight. Winning the title as the biggest lizard globally, they mark their habitat in the Komodo National Park of the East Nusa Tenggara islands. The amazing stretch of land covers 219,322 hectares of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The starkly rugged hillsides of dry savanna, thick vegetation, and pristine beaches provide the best home for these remarkable animals. Discover other endemic species of East Nusa Tenggara in this national park. It impressively serves as a habitat for 7 terrestrial mammals, including the endemic rat (Rattus rintjanus).
The colors of red and the white tail feathers of the Bird of Paradise -- or known by the locals as Cendrawasih -- are striking! This beautiful aves species, with its brightly colored feathers, are spectacular to sight in Indonesia. You can observe this animal in Taman Nasional Teluk Cenderawasih, West Papua. With an estimated 1,453,500 hectares of total area, it also provides a rich habitat for numerous other creatures.
There’s much to explore here, including the different ecosystems, like seagrass, mangrove forest, coral reef, coastal forest, and tropical rainforest.
World Wildlife Day is a day where we remember our role in the environment. Our responsibility as fellow living beings, standing side by side with other living, breathing creatures. It is our responsibility to protect those animals and create a world of sustainability and communities' livelihoods. As the world of travel pauses, let us take a moment to readjust our commitment. Plan an ecotourism trip to natural sites and national parks. Contribute by trekking sustainably, leaving as little carbon footprints as possible. Let us not forget to also take our part in changing the world for the better. You can make a difference by implementing CHSE protocols when traveling.
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