Alas Purwo

Alas Purwo National Park (Taman Nasional Alas Purwo) is a national park located in the district and subdistrict Tegal Dlimo Purwoharjo, Banyuwangi Regency, East Java, Indonesia. Geographically located at the eastern tip of Java Island south coast region between 8o26'45'' - 8o47'00'' South and 114o20'16'' - 114o36'00'' East. The park is famous for its Wild Banteng (Bos javanicus) and world-class surfing location at Grajakan Bay. The park's name means first forest or ancient forest, in accordance with a Javanese legend that says the earth first emerged from the ocean here. 

The park, in the far southeast corner of Banyuwangi, covers 43.420 hectares of land consisting of savanna, mangrove forest, beach forest and lowland tropical forest. Indeed, the jungle embracing its beaches appears to have materialized straight from the sea. Alas Purwo is also home to rare and endangered mammals, including the Asiatic Wild Dog, Wild Oxen and Leopards. Thousands of migrating birds visit it pristine forest each year and turtles come to lay their eggs on its secluded beaches. And for surfers, the park's coastline boasts one of the best and most consistent reef-breaks in the world.

It is home to some of Java's endangered species, such as the Javanese Bull (Bos javanicus). There is no valid information of bull population in the park. In April 2004, there were only 57 bulls found in the savanna of Sadengan, while the population in the previous year was estimated to be 80 to 100. Groups of bulls usually come to Sadengan in the morning and afternoon in search of plants. The biggest threat to the bull are humans. Poachers set traps outside the park during the dry season to snare bulls wandering outside the park in search of water. The bulls are slaughtered and the meat sold.

Diversity of fauna in the area of Alas Purwo National Park generally can be divided into four classes of Mammals, Aves, Pisces, and Reptiles. Mammals recorded for 31 species, among which : Wild Banteng (Bos javanicus), Deer (Cervus timorensis), Ajag (Cuon alpinus), Wild Boar (Sus scrofa), Barking Deer (Muntiacus muncak), Leopard (Panthera pardus), Monkey (Trachypithecus auratus), Gray Monkey (Macaca fascicularis), and Monitor Lizard (Varanus salvator). Birds that have been identified consisting of 236 species of land birds and water birds, some of whom are migrant birds that have been identified are 39 types. Conspicuous bird species include : Forest Chicken (Gallus gallus), Kangkareng (Antracoceros coronatus ), Rangkok (Buceros undulatus), Peacock (Pavo muticus) and Java Kingfisher (Halcyon cyanoventris). As for reptiles of 20 species have been identified.

Alas Purwo National Park is one representative of lowland rain forest ecosystem in Java Indonesia, there are unique and endemic plants in this national park like Kecik Sapodilla (Manilkara kauki) and Bamboo Manggong (Gigantochloa manggong). Other plants are Ketapan (Terminalia cattapa), Nyampung (Calophyllum inophyllum), Kepuh (Sterculia foetida ), Keben (Barringtonia asiatica), and 13 more types of bamboo.

There are approximately 16 species of Australian migratory birds that can be seen at Segoro Anakan in the period of October - Desember including the Cekakak Suci (Halcyonchloris /Todiramphus sanctus), Kirik-kirik Laut (Merops philippinus), Trinil Pantai (Actitis hypoleucos ), and Trinil Semak (Tringa glareola).

Kebatinan (traditional Javanese mystical belief), followed by communities in Central and East Java, centres on inner and outer spirituality, and the connection between the natural and supernatural worlds. As its Javanese name suggest, Alas Purwo is the place where, according to Javanese mysticism, the earth first emerged from the ocean.

Followers of Javanese mysticism also believe that spirits inhabit trees, rocks, rivers, and springs. And those well versed in Ilmu Jawa, or Javanese mysticism, are said to have the ability take on the form of wild animals. So for followers of Javanese mysticism, Alas Purwo's rich flora and fauna also makes it a highly revered place.In Javanese mysticism, there is a fine line between the natural world and the parallel dimension of spirits. 

Declared by Minister of Forestry No. 190/Kpts-II/1993, February 26, 1993.