Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ujung Kulon National Park

Ujung Kulon National Park is located on a peninsula at the extreme west part of Java, it was ndonesia's first national park and by many still considered as the finest. Gunung Honje (620 m) is the highest point, at the center of the park there is a plateau called Telanca with an altitude of about 140 m. The rest of the park is mostly lower land and a shifting coastal landscape, in total it covers 760 square kilometers.

The southern coast is exposed to the Indian ocean, with beaches, forests and high cliffs. The west coast is more protected, with beaches, corral reefs and swamps, some of the coastline here is covered by forest. Much of the soil consists of volcanic ash and dust after eruptions of the famous Krakatau volcano located just north of Ujung Kulon. Krakatau had a gigantic eruption in 1883 which spread ash over a huge area and filled the atmosphere with fine dust, creating spectacular sunsets all over the world.
The biggest celebrity in the park is the almost extinct Javanese rhinoceros, there are probably less than 100 left so the chances to see one is pretty small. This animal only exist in this park, and is one of the most endangered large mammals in the world. It can reach a length of 3 m, a height of 150 cm and a weight of 2.200 kg. They can run as fast as a human, and even if they are most active during night time they can also be seen during the day. If you are so lucky (?) to see one, you should take refuge in a high tree and take photos, in that order.

ther species in the park are crocodile, deer, leopard, wild ox and several species of monkey. There was an observation of a Javanese tiger here in 1950, but unfortunately it is now considered to be extinct. There are also more than 250 species of birds, they can easily be heard, but hard to see. Also there are less popular animals like snakes, frogs, lizards and insects in abundance.

It is possible to find accommodation on the Pulau Peucang and Pulau Handeleum islands, which can be reached by a two days walk or 5 hours with boat from Taman Jaya where the headquarter of the park is located.

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