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TANJUNG PUTING NATIONAL PARK

ORANG UTAN TOURS
CENTRAL KALIMANTAN / BORNEO - INDONESIA

Orang Utan BorneoHere are so many words that can describe Borneo, including verdant, vast, and vibrant. It is the world's third largest island with an extremely diverse flora and fauna that include more than 380 species of birds, 222 species of mammals, more than 2,000 species of orchids, and more than 3,000 species of trees. Borneo is one of 17,000 islands that comprise the country of Indonesia, and it's one of two places on the planet where orangutans live.

Tanjung Puting National Park has several ecosystem types: lowland tropical rain forest, dryland forest, freshwater swamp forest, mangrove forest, coastal forest, and secondary forest.

The Park is dominated by lowland forest plants like jelutung (Dyera costulata), ramin (Gonystylus bancanus), meranti (Shorea sp.), keruing (Dipterocarpus sp.), and rattans.

Endangered and protected species of animal inhabiting the Park include the orangutan (Pongo satyrus), proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus), maroon leaf monkey (Presbytis rubicunda rubida), sun bear (Helarctos malayanus euryspilus), lesser Malay mouse deer (Tragulus javanicus klossii), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), and leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis borneoensis).

Tanjung Puting is the largest and most diverse protected example of extensive coastal tropical heath and peat swamp forest which used to cover much of southern Borneo . The area was originally declared as a game reserve in 1935 and a National Park in 1982. While the Park has checkered history of weak protection, nonetheless, it remains substantially wild and natural.

Kalimantan Orang UtanTanjung Puting is covered by a complex mosaic of diverse lowland habitats. It contains 3,040 sq km2 of low lying swampy terrain punctuated by blackwater rivers which flow into the Java Sea . At the mouth of these rivers and along the sea coast are found Nipa/mangrove swamps. Mangroves teem with animal life. Tanjung Puting also includes tall dry ground tropical rain forest, primarily tropical heath forest, with a canopy of 40 meters (120 feet) with "emergents" exceeding 50
meters (150 ft) in height, seasonally inundated peat swamp forest with peat in layers two meters deep, open depression lakes formed by fire, and open areas of abandoned dry rice fields now covered with elephant grass and ferns. The tropical heath forest which is called "kerangas" in parts of Borneo , is only found on very poor, typically white-sandy soils and is characterized by medium-sized trees.

The best known animals in Tanjung Puting are the orangutans, made famous through the efforts of Orangutan Research and Conservation Program, which is based at the landmark Camp Leakey research station. Tanjung Puting also boasts the bizarre looking proboscis monkey with its "Jimmy Durante" nose as well as seven other primate species. Clouded leopards, civets, and Malaysian sun bears cavort in the park as do mouse deer, barking deer, sambar deer, and the wild cattle known as banteng.

Orang Utan IndonesiaTanjung Puting hosts over 220 species of birds, including hornbills, deep forest birds and many wetland species. Tanjung Puting is well known for its "bird lakes, " seasonal rookeries for a half a dozen species of endangered waterbirds, including the only known Bornean nesting grounds for white egrets. Tanjung Puting also has two species of crocodiles, dozens of snakes and frogs, numerous threatened species, including the fortune-bringing and highly endangered "dragon" fish also known as the Arwana (bony-tongue). Among the most flamboyant of these animals are the many species of colorful birds,butterflies, and moths found in the Park.

Tanjung Puting sits on a peninsula that juts out into the Java Sea . The peninsula is low lying and swampy with a spine of dry ground which rises a few feet above the omnipresent swamp. Towards the north of Tanjung Puting is characterized by gentle hills and gold- bearing alluvial plains. Maps of the region commonly portray a ridge of mountains coming down into Tanjung Puting. This ridge does not exist, in fact, nowhere does the altitude rise above 100 feet in Tanjung Puting.

Tanjung Puting is a veritable hothouse of ecodiversity. The diverse habitat zones shelter slightly different fauna and flora providing a great variety of microhabitats for plants and animals and thus, the opportunity for many species to be present in close proximity. In a Bornean context, tropical heath forest by itself is not representative of the largest trees, the tallest canopy, or the most diverse ecosystem.Tropical swamp ecosystems are little represented in protected areas throughout Southeast Asia but are omnipresent in Tanjung Puting. In the peat swamp forest, many trees have stilt roots or aerial roots as adaptations to frequent flooding.

Horn BillAside from its remarkable biological attributes, Tanjung Puting is highly important for the well-being of the surrounding local human population. The wetlands provide vital ecological services such as flood control, stream control regulation, erosion control, natural biological filtration system, and seasonal nurseries for fish which are the major source of local animal protein. Many of these services have an impact well beyond the local area.

For instance, the waters surrounding Tanjung Puting attract fishing vessels from many different parts of Indonesia . In addition, local peoplebenefit from a great variety of forest products including honey, waxes, aromatic woods, fibers for ropes and cloth, medicinal plants, fuel oils, thatching materials, rattan, firewood, incense, wild rubber, edible latexes, resins, natural pesticides, fungicides and possible virocides.

For the above reasons and many other reasons not noted, Tanjung Puting is recognized as one of the most important and outstanding provincial treasures in Kalimantan Tengah. The national government has also made a strong commitment to protect the forest, its wildlife and to manage the park wisely. Tanjung Puting has increasingly gained international prestige and recognition. As a result, more and more visitors from throughout the world are experiencing a fresh new outlook on nature and an appreciation of the tropical rain forest which was humankind's original "Garden of Eden."

This Park was the first place in Indonesia to become a rehabilitation centre for orangutans. There are now three orangutan rehabilitation locations, Tanjung Harapan, Pondok Tanggui, and Camp Leakey.

Borneo HornbillThe orangutan of Kalimantan has dark reddish fur and no tail. As they get older, the adult males cheeks flesh out, resembling cushions. The older they get, the bigger these cheek flanges grow, giving them a fierce look.

UNESCO has declared Tanjung Puting National Park as a Biosphere Reserve, and it is also a Sister Park to Taman Negara Malaysia under a cooperation agreement between Indonesia and Malaysia.

 

Interesting locations/attractions:

Tanjung Harapan: this is the first station in the orangutan rehabilitation process. Situated in the midst of secondary forest and swamp forest, it has a guesthouse, an information centre, and trails.

Pondok Tanggui: orangutans that have passed the semi-wild phase are moved to Pondok Tanggui. There, they are closely monitored from a distance, and human contact is avoided.

Camp Leakey: founded in 1971 in the middle of primary forest, this is the location for semi-wild and wild orangutans, and for younger orangutans from birth until three years of age.

Natai Lengkuas: bekantan research station, and watching other animals along the river.

Buluh River and Danau Burung (Bird Lake): watching birds, in particular migrant species.

Among the cultural attractions outside the Park is a traditional rowing contest held in Pangkalan Bun in May.



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