nature indonesia

The moderate climate, fertile soil and minerals found on the land and in the waters of Indonesia make the archipelago an ideal habitat for a large amount of incredible flora and fauna. Indonesia is divided by the “Wallace Line” – an imaginary line between Bali and Lombok, continuing north between Kalimantan and Sulawesi. Any vegetation or wildlife found to the west of the line is traditionally Asian in nature while anything to the east is similar to that found in Australia.As there are over 17,000 islands found in Indonesia, it is not surprising that a vast array of landscapes can be found. Islands such as Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua are considerably wetter than other islands and therefore offer ancient rainforests that cover much of the islands’ areas. Islands located to the east of Bali are home to great savannahs while mountain tops found in Gede National Park located 100km outside of Jakarta look like they belong in the Swiss Alps rather than the tropical paradise of Indonesia.Some of the large animals traditionally found in Asia can be found, albeit in small numbers, on a few of the islands of Indonesia. Tigers and leopards are rare, but can still be seen in Sumatra. Leopards are also found in Ujung Kuton National Park in Java. This national park also hosts the one-horned Javan rhinoceros – a species that is almost extinct. Elephants, again small in number, exist in the wild in Sumatra and in Way Kambas National Park. Some have also been spotted in the northeast part of Kalimantan. Papua is the only part of Indonesia to lay claim to any marsupial species. Tree-kangaroos, bandicoots and ring-tailed possums exist there, while some Australian reptiles, like crocodiles and frilled lizards also call Papua home.Perhaps the two most famous species associated with Indonesia are the orangutan and the Komodo dragon. Orangutans are long haired red apes found in Sumatra and Kalimantan. These apes are a favourite amongst locals and visitors alike. Bohorok Orangutan Viewing Centre in northern Sumatra and Tanjung Puting National Park in Kalimantan are good places to view these animals in their natural settings. The Komodo dragon, reaching 3m long, is the world’s largest lizard. It can be found on the Komodo group of reserves made up of the Komodo, Padar and Rinca Islands.To protect and accommodate such incredible nature and wildlife, the first national parks in Indonesia were established in 1980 and have been growing ever since. There are now forty-four designated national parks that cover both land and sea, six of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are also a large number of protected reserves, botanic gardens and zoos. Conservation groups like The Nature Conservancy and WWF have developed projects and reserves throughout the country to educate the population about preservation of the immense flora and fauna found in Indonesia.

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