A census conducted in 2001, funded by Orangutan Conservancy (OC), estimated there are 2.500 individual Orangutan living inside Mount Palung National Park, with an almost equal sized population living in the unprotected areas outside the park. This national park is located in Ketapang district, West Borneo, which the only and the best tropical Dipterocarpus forest and the widest in Borneo.
Approximately 65 percent of this region is an unspoiled primary forest and has many wildlife plants and animals. This park represents one of the most important blocks of Orangutan habitat and the most viable remaining population of Orangutan in Borneo and the world.
This 100,000 ha (241,700 acres) has coastal mangrove forests, swamp forests, alluvial forests, tropical lowland, tropical highland forests, and sub-alpine forests with tropical climate, with temperatures ranging between 25.5° – 35°C and an average rainfall of 3.000 mm per year.
As the other areas in West Borneo, this area is covered by damar, ramin, pulai, ironwood, rengas, jelutung, Sonneratia sp., Lumnitzera sp., Rhizophora sp., and medicinal plants. You can find the exotic Black Orchid in Matan river, especially in the months of February to April when many of them are in full bloom.
This amazing Black Orchid has uniquely form of flowers with a combination between green pattern and black spot in the center of the flower. The flowering time occurred between 5 to 6 days.
There are 190 birds species and 35 mammals species that have function to sowing the seeds of plants in the forest. All of bird families and all bird species in Borneo probably can be found in this national park forest.
Animals that also dwell in the jungle of Mount Palung are the beruk apes, rangkong badak, forest chicken, honey bears, land squirrels, penyu tempayan, forest deer, klampiau, lemurs, Siamese Crocodile, kancil, , enggang gading, and Ivory turtles. Not less interesting is the rare canary squirrels, which very difficult to see.
The main attraction of this national park is the rare and unique primates, Orangutan (Pongo satyrus). Theese shaggy red apes are the largest arboreal mammal and the only great ape found in Asia, especially in Borneo and Sumatra.
Orangutans, whose name means “people of the forest”, spend most of their life in the tree, swinging confidently from branch to branch, where they feed, eating mainly fruits, leaves, tree-bark and insects. Life in the trees works well for them, since their arms are longer than their body.
In addition, they also have strong fingers and prehensile feet which make them look a bit awkward on the ground using their arms as we might see, they use a pair of crutches or lifting those arms high above their head when they walk.
These rare primates living safely protected behind the dense trees in the jungle of Mount Palung and considered as the umbrella species for conservation in this area, Orangutans also act as an important ecological agent for seed dispersal and seed predation Take a chance to encounter with these gentle and friendly apes on their own turf, and you will have an insight how Orangutans live their daily life in the wild.
Rich with biodiversity in plant and animal, there also the uniquely long-nosed proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus) in Mount Palung national park and together with the magnificent Orangutan, the proboscis monkeys are one of the endemic species living in this jungle.
Moreover, Mount Palung National Park also offers a variety of other exciting scenery, such as Datok Island Beach, waterfall, a variety of wildlife, and cultural communities. If you like to climb mountains, Mount Palung is a perfect place of climb, is approximately 1160 meters above sea level or Mount Panti, about 1050 meters above sea level.
You can reach this wonderful tropical rain forest within 75 minutes flight from Jakarta City to Pontianak’s airport, and then take another 1.5 hours flight to Ketapang, which is the starting point to make two hour overland journey to Sukadana, the entry point to Mount Palung National Park.
If you like the adventure journey, you can take a 5 hours hike through dense jungle and high bushes to get to the heart of Mount Palung. Alternately, you can take a 6 hours motorboat ride, or for a one life time experience, try the traditional boat ride that can take up to 10 hours.
This park is designated for the inhabitants of the forest. So if you want to spend the night, you have to adapt and melt with nature, as part of the creatures of the jungle. It might not the right place if you are looking for cozy bed or starred hotels. It also might not comfortable, but it is definitely will give you more in depth experience.
Prepare yourself with $0.7 each person for international or foreign tourist as entrance fees of Mount Palung National Park or $0.1 each person for domestic tourist. The charge of bringing digital or analog camera is $2 each unit for international tourist or $0.2 each unit for domestic tourist. They also give you charge of bringing video camera $7.5 each unit for international tourist or $2 each unit for domestic tourist.
Being a place with a wide variety of colorful flora and fauna, Mount Palung National Park deserved to be called as Borneo’s paradise. From the exotic Black Orchid to the magnificent Orangutans, Mount Palung National Park is clearly the main entrance into marvelous Borneo’s tropical jungle.
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