Hooked on wildlife in Indonesia? Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It consists of over seventeen thousand islands, including Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, and parts of Borneo and New Guinea.
Indonesia is the largest nation in Southeast Asia (by size) and the fourth most populous country on earth. It’s a geological wonderland on the Equator, boasting hundreds of volcanoes which meet at the Indian and Pacific Oceans, a culturally diverse and exotic landmark. More than 20 million people visit Indonesia per year, and its basically because they want to see their famous beaches, (active) volcanoes and fantastic landscapes.
Long, assocoiated for Bali, Indonesia is comprised of so much more to experience. From the friendly locals, to cuisines, opportunities to encounter orangutans and other unique wildlife in the wild, it offers visitors a once-in-a-life experience! It comprises five main islands: Sumatra, Java, Borneo (known as Kalimantan in Indonesia), Sulawesi, and New Guinea; two major island groups (Nusa Tenggara and the Maluku Islands) and sixty smaller island groups.
Culture & History
Indonesia is centrally-located along ancient trading routes between the Far East, South Asia and the Middle East, and this resulting in many cultural practices being strongly influenced by a multitude of religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam, all strong in the major trading cities.
Indonesia has a tropical climate and is hot and humid throughout the year. The main rainy season runs from October to April with the dry season lasting from May to September. Generally speaking, the weather gets drier the further east you travel. July and August tend to be the busiest months in Indonesia when hotel prices are most expensive. Rainy season months tend to be better value but December, January and February are best avoided due to heavy rain and floods.
Some of the many natural attractions and the wildlife they home…
Mount Bromo, Java
Mount Bromo is an active somma volcano and part of the Tengger mountains, in East Java, Indonesia. There are about 137 species of birds, 22 species of mammals and 4 species of reptiles protected in the national park surrounding the volcanoe. Examples such as besra, green peafowl, Javan rusa, Sumatran dhole, crab-eating macaque, marbled cat and Javan leopard.
Lake Toba, Sumatra
Lake Toba was once the site of the largest volcanic eruption on Earth in the last two million years, about 74,000 years ago. It is the world’s largest crater lake as well as being the largest lake in Southeast Asia and one of the deepest in the world. Home to many species of fish and birds.
Mount batur and Mount Agung, Bali
Mount Batur is an active volcano located at the center of two concentric calderas north west of Mount Agung on the island of Bali. A location of esteemed beauty and wildlife. One of two volcanoes. Mount Agung is an active volcano in Bali, Indonesia, southeast of Mount Batur volcano, also in Bali. It is the highest point on Bali, and dominates the surrounding area, influencing the climate, especially rainfall patterns.
Nusa Penida is an island southeast of Indonesia’s island Bali. It includes the neighbouring small island of Nusa Lembongan and twelve even smaller islands. Nusa Penida is rich in corals and home to colonies of protected Manta rays and Sunfish. Popular for bird watching enthusiasts.
Indonesia’s forests represent 10% of the world’s remaining tropical rainforests, and therefore accomodates thousands of wildlife species. It’s estimated that there are more than 300,000 wildlife species. This means that 17% of the world wildlife live in Indonesia, even though Indonesia’s land is only 1.3% of the world’s land mass. Indonesia has the most mammals in the world (515 species) and is inhabited by 1,539 bird species. How amazing is that? We have selected five incredible animals to encounter in Indonesia. Take a look…
#1 Borneo Elephants: Wildlife in Indonesia
The Borneo elephant, also called the Borneo pygmy elephant, is a subspecies of Asian elephant that inhabits northeastern Borneo, in Indonesia and Malaysia. Specifically to Indonesia they may be located in the Indonesian state of East Kalimantan. Generally they are found in lowland forest, which in the Kinabatangan is seasonally inundated with floodwaters.
Origins of the elephants have been debated; The group used genetic data analysis and computational modelling to study the history of the elephants and found they might have migrated between the Sunda Islands in Southeast Asia during low sea levels.
It is estimated that there are only around 1,500 Borneo elephants left in the wild. This is unfortunately due to deforestation from logging and plantations, making this the biggest threat to the elephant’s survival.
#2 Sumatran oragutans: Wildlife in Indonesia
The Sumatran orangutan is almost exclusively arboreal, meaning they live primarily in the trees of tropical rainforests.
Sumatran orangutans are found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Sadly just over 13,000 Sumatran orangutans are left in the wild making the species in critical danger of extinction.
The influence a Sumatran Orangutan has on its environment is very prevelent: If orangutans were to disappear, so would several tree species, especially those with larger seeds. The tropical rainforests where Sumatran orangutans live are also home to other spectacular species including rare Sumatran tigers, Sumatran elephants, and Sumatran rhinoceroses ( all species that are already functionally extinct in the wild).
#3 Komodo Dragons
The Official National Animal of Indonesia. The Komodo dragon, which holds the distinction of the largest species of lizards in the world, is the official animal of Indonesia.
It is not even clear how many dragons there are. A most recent study concluded that there were 3,000 in the wild, but other estimates range as high as 6,000. Besides Komodo Island, the lizards are found on Rinca, Gili Motang and Nusa Kode islands
#4 Javan Rhinocerous :Wildlife in Indonesia
The Javan rhinoceros, also known as the Sunda rhinoceros or lesser one-horned rhinoceros, is a very rare member of the family Rhinocerotidae. They may also be compared by size; they are the smaller and lighter relative of the greater one-horned rhino.
Unfortunately the Javan Rhino is the rarest of the rhino species with 74 animals currently surviving only in Indonesia. It is therefore especially important to only seek out these animals in ethical ways; through sanctuaries or NGOs. In the wild they can only be found in one place on the globe; all Javan Rhinos live in a single site on the island of Java.
#5 Pygmy Tarsier: Wildlife in Indonesia
The pygmy tarsier/ mountain tarsier is a nocturnal primate found in central Sulawesi, Indonesia, in an area with lowland forset. They inhabit montane cloud forests in the central Sulawesi Mountains at altitudes from 1800 to 2200 m. They often inhabit the lower canopy among trunks of saplings, and the forest floor. The Pygmy tarsier is Indonesia’s smallest primate species.
The biggest threat to this species is habitat loss and degradation. Hunting and fires set by humans are also threats, and, together with logging, are probably going to continue in the future. Transmigration and local clearance are other threats. Pygmy Tarsiers need to be protected because they have an important impact on their natural environment. They regulate and control insect communities and having an impact on local food webs.
Comprising thousands of islands, the Southeast Asian nation of Indonesia is home to vast swathes of untamed natural beauty and more than 50 diverse national parks teeming with rare and wonderful wildlife. We have selected the top four national parks rated for their beautiful flora and fauna.
Komodo National Park
The national park was founded in 1980 to protect the Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard. Later it was dedicated to protecting other species, including marine species. In 1991 the national park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Komodo National Park has been selected as one of the New7Wonders of the natural world.
Mount Leuser National Park
This biosphere reserve and national park covers a vast area of tropical rain forest in northern Sumatra with a range of ecosystems. Stretching into the northern province of Aceh on Sumatra, Gunung Leuser National Park is home to Sumatran orangutans, Thomas-leaf monkeys endemic to the Leuser rainforests, bands of macaques, hornbills, sun bears, unique butterflies and the last remaining populations of Sumatran elephants, tigers and rhinos among many other species. This rainforest is a treasure of biodiversity and covered by a dense tree canopy, but is unfortunately under threat from oil palm plantations.
Baluran National Park
Baluran National Park is located in East Java, Indonesia. Mainly consisting of savanna, as well as lowland forests, mangrove forests and hills, the park offers beautiful landscapes, home to many species.
Ujung Kulon National Park
Ujung Kulon National Park is at the westernmost tip of Java, in Banten province of Indonesia. It includes the volcanic island group of Krakatoa. The park is home to number of rare animals, most notably the Javan rhinoceros and the Javan gibbon, which are endemic to the area. Other animals include langurs (leaf monkeys), muntjacs (barking deer), chevrotains (mouse deer), crocodiles, green turtles, green peafowl, and jungle fowl.
Wildlife in Indonesia Summary
From the culture, food, history to the diverse wildlife from beaches to jungles, Indonesia’s islands are a must visit for any nature enthusiast.
Did you enjoy this blog about wildlife in Indonesia? if you’re interested in encountering wildlife of south east asia, refer to the wildlife of Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand to plan your next trip or learn more about these beauitful locations around the globe!