Sumatra, a second largest Island in Indonesia and sixth largest in the world is rich in natural resources. Located at the western part of the archipelago, this island has extensive forest stretched along its mountainous west and east coast. A huge range of animal species and plant varieties, some of them are endangered, live in several beautiful national parks on the island. Here is the list of the most beautiful parks.
Kerinci Seblat National Park
Spanning from West Sumatra to South Sumatera Province with a total area of more than 13 thousand square kilometers, Kerinci Seblat National Park is one
Gunung Leuser National Park
Stretching out for 150 kilometers on the border of North Sumatera and Aceh Province, Gunung Leuser National Park, which had also been declared as Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatera, covers a total area of more than 7,000 square kilometers. The park had long been known as the sanctuary of f Sumatran Tiger and Sumatran Orangutan. This park also offers protection for Sumatran Elephant, Sumatran Rhinocheros and several other species of mammal. Most area of the park is mountainous with Gunung Leuser as its highest peak.
Batang Gadis National Park
Batang Gadis National Park is the home of the endangered Leopard Cat, Clouded Leopard and Asiatic Golden Cat. Sumatran Tiger is also sometimes seen in this park. In addition, this park is the natural habitat of more than 200 species of vascular plant. Covering an area of 1,080 square kilometers, the park is part of series of protected forest stretching out on the western coast of Sumatra Island.
Berbak National Park
Located on a flat alluvial plain of East Sumatera, Berbak National Park is internationally recognized as the largest undisturbed swamp forest in South East Asia with a total area of almost two thousand square kilometers. Besides the swamp forest, this park is also characterized by its meandering rivers and mangrove forest. The park is the home of more than 200 species of bird and reptile including Chinese Egret, White-winged Wood Duck and Saltwater Crocodile. Sumatran Tiger and Mayalan Tapir are sometimes seen inside this protected area as well. The most notable plant in the park is the Shorea and some species of endangered palm tree.
Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park
This World Heritage Site is widely known as the important habitat for Sumatran Rhinoceros, Sumatran Tiger and Sumatran Elephant. Species of Nepenthes plant also grows here. This park covers three provinces, South Sumatera, Bengkulu and Lampung with total area of more
Bukit Tigapuluh National Park
Literally means “thirty hills”, Bukit Tigapuluh National Park covers a vast area of more than 140 hectares on eastern Sumatera. The park consists mainly of tropical lowland and highland forest. Endangered species of mammal including tiger, elephant, rhinoceros, orangutan and tapir endemic to the island of Sumatera live side by side in this park with local tribes called Orang Rimba (people of the forest) and Talak Mamak. This park is also the home of 198 species of bird including Great Argusm White-bellied Woodpecker and Storm’s Stork, 18 species of bat and some species of butterfly. Today the park is suffering from illegal logging. Deforestation of some part of the park for oil palm plantation also poses a threat on the existence of this park.
Sembilang National Park
Sembilang National Park is located on northern part of Sumatera Island and covers a total area of 2,501 square kilometers. The park mainly comprises of swamp and mangrove forest, a perfect habitat for saltwater crocodile, sembilang fish, freshwater dolphin and giant freshwater turtle. Various species of bird and mammal also live in the park. Sembilang’s mangrove forest is considered to be the best in the world after Papua. Many species of orchid and palm tree can be found growing inside the park.
Tesso Nilo National Park
Administratively, Tesso Nilo National Park is located within the province of Riau. The park forms the largest lowland rainforest remaining on the island. Covering an area of around 38 thousand square kilometers, this park is the house of the most diverse species of vascular plant. Like other national parks on Sumatra Island, Tesso Nilo is the home of the threatened Sumatran Elephants, Tigers and Orangutans. Illegal logging, wildfire, deforestation for illegal settlement and palm oil plantation still remain serious issues.
Way Kambas National Park
Located in Lampung Province on southern part of Sumatra Island, Way Kambas swamp and rainforest used to cover a large area, but unfortunately most of it was extensively logged before the area was declared as protected in 1972. Today only 1,300 square kilometers of the forest is left. Way Kambas is long recognized as the home of numerous Sumatran Elephant. Other famous inhabitants in the park are Sumatran Tiger and Sumatran Rhinoceros.
Over 35 years Sumatera had lost almost 50% of its forest. The protection of the national parks of Sumatra is a must as they hold very important function, particularly as sanctuaries for large variety of endangered species of plant and animal.