wildlife,  NATURE,  Environment,  PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS



Indonesia is a large place, one of my favourite places in the world.  I have made several visits here over the years, and still don't feel I know the country.  Sumatra is a huge island with much primary and undisturbed rainforest remaining, but a look out of the airplane window will prove to anyone that enormous tracts of this island is now plantation.   This is home to some very rare animals like the tiger and rhino.  Borneo is perhaps the most famous island in Indonesia after Bali, and host to some famous orangutans.  But spread throughout many of the other islands of this huge archipelago, especially Java and Sulawesi, hides a whole host of other fascinating wildlife, such as the Anoa and Babirusa (see Sulawesi Gallery).   Below are just 3 very threatened animals you may already know....




Sumatran tiger     


Panthera tigris sumatrae


Tesso Nilo National Park is home to a significant number of the remaining 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild today.

However, large-scale habitat conversion to commercial plantation is rapidly eating away the tigers' natural forests. Illegal logging is also prevalent in much of Sumatra, with local paper mills relying upon wood from tropical rainforests.  Fire and poaching also takes it toll.

Unless an end is brought to rampant habitat loss and the illegal trade in tiger parts, Indonesia may lose its last remaining tiger species.







Bornean orang-u-tan 


Pongo pygmaeus


Sepilok Rehabilitation centre in Sabah is world renowned for its Orangutans.    But photographing them looking wild is difficult, so a trip to the south coast of Borneo, to the Tanjung Puting National Park is a must (Gunung Leuser NP in Sumatra is another good place).   Tanjung Puting is known to have a large diversity of forest ecosystems, including freshwater swamp forest, peat swamp forest, mangrove forest, and coastal forest.   It is in such swampy habitat that Orangutans can be found.




The main threat to orangutans is exactly the same as for the tiger.   Approximately 80% of their habitat has been destroyed in just the last decade.   Only a few viable populations of orangutans remain in the wild. Currently almost none of these populations are sufficiently well managed and adequately protected.   Now, nearly 1,000 orphan orangutans live in rescue centres like Sepilok.

Dr. Willie Smits, Chairman of Borneo Orangutan Survival, declared passionately, "From the number of orangutans confiscated and smuggled in 2003, I estimate that 6000 were lost from the wild last year. What does this mean? Without immediate action, the orangutans are doomed."

On the upside, new populations of orangutans have been discovered in East Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), with numbers there as high as 2,500.  Let's make sure we do not support any further illegal logging.




"I'm  fed up"





Siamang gibbon


Symphalangus syndactylus


This Sumatran gibbon is a common target of the pet trade, although habitat loss is also a severe threat.  It is famous for its melodious and loud morning call.






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