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Central Kalimantan, Indonesia - Pangkalan Bun

Map of Tanjung Puting Orangutan Odysseys
 
TANJUNG PUTING NATIONAL PARK
Located on the island of Borneo, in the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan, Tanjung Puting National Park is the largest coastal tropical forest and is legendary for its orangutan conservation.

Tanjung Puting is covered by a complex array of diverse lowland habitats. It contains 3,040 km2 (1,174 square miles) of low-lying swampy terrain surrounded by blackwater rivers which flow into the Java Sea. Clouded leopards, civets, Malayan sun bears, three deer species, and wild cattle (referred to as banteng) live throughout the park. The most popular of the animals however are orangutans, due to the long-term efforts of the Orangutan Research and Conservation Program.

Tanjung Puting is also home to the unique looking proboscis monkey, seven other primate species, and over 230 species of birds. The park, known for its bird lakes and seasonal rookeries, also feature the only known Bornean nesting grounds for white egrets. In addition, Tanjung Puting has two species of crocodiles, dozens of snakes and frogs, and numerous threatened species, including the highly endangered dragon fish thought to bring good fortune.

Tanjung Puting sits on a peninsula that juts out into the Java Sea. The north of Tanjung Puting is characterized by gentle hills and gold-bearing alluvial plains. A hothouse of eco-diversity, the various habitat zones protect 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 not well represented in protected areas throughout Southeast Asia, but are everywhere in Tanjung Puting. In the peat swamp forest, many trees have stilt roots or aerial roots as adaptations to frequent flooding.

Aside 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, stream and erosion control, as well as a natural biological filtration system and seasonal nursery for fish, 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 people benefit from a great variety of forest products including honey, waxes, aromatic woods, fibres for ropes and cloth, medicinal plants, fuel oils, thatching materials, rattan, firewood, incense, wild rubber, edible latexes, resins, natural pesticides, fungicides and possible virocides. Tanjung Puting is recognised as one of the most important and outstanding provincial treasures in Kalimantan Tengah, and the national government has made a strong commitment to protect the forest, its wildlife, and to manage the park wisely.

Although Tanjung Puting has suffered some encroachment from human activity, the park area is still wild and pristine. The vegetation supports a large population of animals, making this one of the most important areas in Southeast Asia for the preservation of primates, birds, reptiles and fish.

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