Gunung Palung

Gunung Palung (Mount Palung) National Park is a nature conservation area with high biodiversity value and a variety of ecosystems, including mangrove forest, swamp forest, peat swamp forest, freshwater swamp forest, lowland tropical forest and montane forest, always shrouded in mist.

Gunung Palung National Park lies on the island of Borneo, in the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan, north of Ketapang and east of Sukadana.

Gunung Palung National Park located at the geographical position between 109o54' - 110o28' East and 1o03' - 1o22' South. Altitude 900 - 1.116 m above sea level, rainfall average 3.000 mm/year, temperature 25o - 35o  C.

Gunung Palung was not immediately designated as national park. The park was first created in 1937 as a forest nature reserve covering 30.000 hectares. In 1981 the size was increased to 90.000 hectares and its status raised to a wildlive reserve, and on 3 June 1990 the area became a national park.

A research station (Cabang Panti) was established at the western foot of the main Gunung Palung mountain in 1985, and is owned and operated by the park management authority. Research there has contributed significantly to our understanding of Borneo Forest biology.

Cabang Panti is currently home to a number of researchers including two long-term interest. The Gunung Palung Orangutan Project and the Gibbon and Leaf-Monkey Project.

This park is the best and most extensive Dipterocarp tropical forest in Kalimantan. About 65 % of the area is still primary forest, undisturbed by human activity, and it is rich in plant and wildlife communities.

Like many other parts of West Kalimantan, this park is inhabited by Jelutung (Dyera costulata), Ramin (Gonystylus bancanus), Damar (Agathis borneensis), Pulai (Alstonia scholaris), Rengas (Gluta renghas), Kayu Ulin (Eusideroxylon zwageri), Bruguiera sp., Lumitzera sp., Rhizophora sp., Ara (a strangling plant), and medicinal plants.

One unique plant in this park is the Black Orchid (Coelogyne pandurata), which can be seen on the Matan river, in particular from February to April. The attraction of the Black Orchid lies in the shape of its flower, which is marked by green with black spots in the centre. The blooms last for five to six days.
one hundred and ninety species of bird have been recorded and 35 species of mammals, which play an important role in dispersing seeds throughout the forest. All the families, and probably even most of the species of bird in Kalimantan are to be found in this park. The park has potential for ecotourism, and has a number of attractive sites for visitors.

Among the animals comonly found in the park are the Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis larvatus), Orangutan (Pongo saturus), Helmeted Hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil), Four-striped ground Squirrel (Lariscus hosei), Barking Deer (Muntiacus muntjak pleiharicus), Sun Bear (Helarctus malayanus euruspilus), Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca nemestrina nemestrina), Slow Loris (Nuticebus caucana borneanus), Muellers Bornean Grey Gibbon (Hylobates muelleri), Western Tarsier (Tarsius bancanus borneanus), Banded Leaf monkey (Presbutis femoralis chrysomelas), Larger Malay Mouse Deer (Tragulus napu bornaenus), Rhineceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros borneoensis), Blue-banded Pitta (Pitta baudii), Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus), Siamese Crocodile (Crocodulus siamensis), Malayan Giant Turtle (Orlitia borneensis), and Loggerhead Turtle (Carreta carreta).

Another interesting thing to note is the existence of Canary Squirrels (Rheithrosciurus macrotis), which are endangered and very rarely seen.

The Orangutan is considered the umbrella species for conservation in the National Park, and is also an important ecological agent for seed dispersal and seed predation. It is believed that Orangutan at Gunung Palung constitute one of the most dense and largest population on Borneo. A census conducted in 2001, part funded by The Orangutan Conservancy, gives an estimate of 2.500 individual Orangutans, about 17 % of the estimated population in Borneo and close to 10 % of the world's population.

Declared by Minister of Forestry No. 448/Menhut-VI/1990. June 3, 1990.