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Indonesian Wildlife

Indonesia has some of the highest levels of biodiversity and endemicity in the world, due to its distribution over a vast and sprawling archipelago.

Indonesia is divided into two ecological regions; western Indonesia, often more influenced by Asian flora and fauna, and the east which sees more influence from Australian species. The Wallace Line, a faunal boundary line drawn in 1859 by British naturalist Alfred Wallace, notionally divides the two regions. Here there is an incredibly diverse range of ecosystems, from beaches, sand dunes and estuaries, to coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds. Small island ecosystems dot the archipelago and coastal mudflats and algal beds provide sanctuary for smaller species of wildlife.

Komodo Dragon

The world’s largest lizard and perhaps the most fearsome, the Komodo dragon roams a tiny group of islands off of the coast of Flores. Reaching up to three metres long, these scaly poster boys of Indonesia stalk much larger prey then themselves such as buffalo which they fall victim to the bacteria from the dragon’s bacteria-ridden toxic bite. Newly hatched babies can often be seen scurrying for the nearest tree to avoid the gaping jaws of their own mother’s mouth.

The Komodo National Park comprises the islands of Komodo and Rinca as well as several smaller ones, and our knowledgeable guides will give you the best chance of seeing these dragons up close and safely.

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Whale Shark

It is not everyday that a whale shark will approach you, but when one does, it is an experience that you will cherish for a lifetime and is one of the most humbling experiences in the natural world. The largest fish in the world, growing up to the size comparable to a city bus, whale sharks are non-predatory and are rather gentle.

Whale sharks tend to like warmer areas and are found in tropical waters all over the world, making the waters of East Indonesia a perfect habitat, in particular the waters of West Papua. This area is home to a vast array of marine species, boasting 75 percent of the world’s coral species and more than 1,700 species of fish.

Sumatran Orangutan

The Sumatran orangutan is almost exclusively arboreal, making its sanctuary in the peaceful forest layers in the rainforest. Historically, the Sumatran orangutan was distributed over the entire island of Sumatra and further in to south Java, however, the islands of Sumatra and Borneo are now possibly the last safe havens for the critically endangered species of Sumatran and Tapanuli orangutans. With just over 14,000 Sumatran orangutans and approximately 800 Tapanuli orangutans left in the wild, both species are in critical danger of extinction.

Black Macaque

The Crested Black Macaque is another critically endangered species of primate found on the islands of Indonesia. These unique monkeys are spotted in the Tangkoko reserve in Sulawesi and recently got their claim to fame from the ‘selfie’ tag when one macaque clicked its own picture. Watching these macaques is an exciting past-time and hours can be spent sitting amongst habituated colonies as they browse in the leaf litter.

Pygmy Tarsier

The pygmy tarsier, found inhabiting the verdant rainforests of central Sulawesi, is the world’s smallest primate. Standing around four inches tall, this miniscule mammal has bug-like saucers for eyes and is so elusive that it was regarded as extinct only until it was rediscovered in 2008. Sightings are by no means guaranteed with a creature this small, although it does live alongside the slightly larger spectral tarsier; the best chance of spotting them is in Tangkoko National Park.