Mangrove Swamp in North Jakarta : Muara Angke

Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary - Jakarta (14)

fruiting body

Much of the the north of Jakarta used to be completely covered with mangroves. Now little remains of that except for a few small pockets along the tollway to the airport. (Of course that exacerbates the flooding problem). One of these pockets is a national sanctuary or wildlife park, Muara Angke, offically known as Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary (SMMA). Set aside by the government for the protection of mangroves and associated wetland birds in 1939 and expanded in the 1960’s.

Of course, Indonesian officialdom requires one to get written permission before visiting, from an office somewhere in the centre of town somewhere, a few unanswered emails and a dozen unanswered calls didn’t help.

Decided to try our luck and just turn up. With some sketchy directions and half an idea of where to enter we set out Saturday morning. The drive took us about an hour from South Jakarta, which is pretty good going really, out near the airport toll. We entered through some broken down gateway entrance onto a boardwalk.

An empty visitors room didn’t fill us with confidence and meet by an official caretaker he demanded our papers authorizing us to visit. A ten minute conversation with with my wife fortunately got that sorted out, since we had tried to ring, well my secretary had, and had received no answer he’d let us in, just this once, to have a look around.

Essentially it is a winding kilometer long boardwalk through a mangrove wetlands that, surprisingly for Indonesia is well maintained. (edit, not so well maintained anymore) There is a bird blind along the way and a lookout tower (also now closed due to lack of maintenance) and plenty of signs explaining the flora and fauna along the way (Indonesian only).

There has been recording of about 30 species of plants; 11 of which are trees, which live in the SMMA. The mangrove trees of which are the types of mangrove (Rhizophora mucronata, R. apiculata), the fires (Avicennia spp.), Pidada (Sonneratia caseolaris), and blind-blind wood (Excoecaria agallocha). Several types of mangrove vegetation associations can also be found in this area such as Casuarina (Terminalia catappa) and Nipah (Nypa fruticans).

In addition to the above types, there are several types of trees planted. For example, Java tamarind (Tamarindus indica), Bintaro (Cerbera manghas), kormis (Acacia auriculiformis), nyamplung (Calophyllum inophyllum), tanjang (Bruguiera gymnorrhiza), and waru sea (Hibiscus tiliaceus).

There exists dozens of birds, crabs and a troop of monkeys, but please do not feed them. Jakarta Green Monster (an ecotourism group) have recorded in all 91 species of birds, of which 28 are waterfowl and 63 are forest birds living in the area. Of these around 17 are protected species of birds.

In addition to the types of birds, the SMMA is still found wild monkey groups Kra or also commonly called long-tailed monkey (Macaca fascicularis). They live communally to a dozen pieces consisting of a number of male and female. The main food is the young leaves and fruits such as fruit pidada mangrove (Sonneratia caseolaris).Long-tailed monkeys have an important role in Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary, so help spread seeds of forest plants. Seeds that can not be digested, it will be released back together with fesesnya.

Other types of mammals that can be found in the SMMA, but are rarely seen, are claw otters subsection (Aonyx cinerea), which are carnivorous, eating small fish and water animals, especially active at night (nocturnal).

SMMA is also has many species of reptiles such as monitor lizards (Varanus salvator), expandable pythons (Python reticulatus), Java cobra (naja sputatrix) welang snake (Bungarus fasciatus), striped snake bag (Homalopsis buccata), gold ring snake (Boiga dendrophila), snake shoots (Ahaetula prasina) and the mangrove snake (Cerberus rhynchops). According to information from local people, the SMMA also has some estuarine crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus), but perhaps they are mistaking them with monitor lizards.

board walk of Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary - Jakarta (11)

board walk of Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary – Jakarta (11)

information signs Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary - Jakarta (7)

information signs Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary – Jakarta (7)

mangroves Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary - Jakarta (8)
mangroves Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary – Jakarta (8)

water Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary - Jakarta (4)
Lake of Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary – Jakarta (4)

Uses of mangroves Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary - Jakarta (5)
Uses of mangroves Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary – Jakarta (5)

Insects at Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary - Jakarta (13)
Insects at Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary – Jakarta (13)

board walk Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary - Jakarta (12)

Board walk at Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary – Jakarta

Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary - Jakarta
Mangrove roots at Muara Angke Wildlife Sanctuary – Jakarta


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16 Responses to Mangrove Swamp in North Jakarta : Muara Angke

  1. Lottie Nevin says:

    Stunning photos, now I want to go! I had absolutely no idea that this place existed, what a lovely surprise. This must be where all the birds and animals hang out since I never see anything more exotic than sparrows and swifts in Pancoran.

    • Pak Liam says:

      I’ve been living here years, and I only discovered this place 12 months ago. That’s one of the crazy thigns about Jakarta, so many secrets.

      Getting the permits can be tricky, I’ll see if I can find the office number, I think it’s in Tebet. Mind you they never answer their phone.

      Another option is to book an excursion through Green Monster, I think they do them free or for a nominal fee. We send our Ecosystems students each year. It’s not as large as it looks, but it’s large enough. The board walk is about 900 metres long.

      • Aicha Delafoulhouse says:

        Hi Pak Liam,
        Great post. I would like to organise an excursion to the sanctuary but I cannot get in touch with Jakarta Green Monster. The contacts I found on the web are not valid. Would you happen to have a way to contact them?
        Thank you.

      • Pak Liam says:

        Hi Aicha,

        Actually we’ve had trouble contacting Green Monster via email, phone or fax too. What we’ve done in the past is sent a staff member to visit them directly which has worked.

        (One time I went to Muara Angke without the forms and I was told off by security for not having the permission but I was still allowed in; however I would not want to risk that with a group of students with me in case they say no.)

  2. Matteo says:

    Amazing. The first time i seen a mangrovia forest was in Nusa Lembonga, Bali. It’s impressive 😉

    • Pak Liam says:

      Yes it is, but unfortunately, because mangroves tend to collect rubbish and stagnant water many people dislike them and fail to see the benefits of preserving them.

  3. oh man, you are just adding to my “bucket list” of places to see some day!! Beautiful!

  4. Neil says:

    Your pictures don’t do this place justice…this is where we had our year 6 field trip. Yes the established mangroves look ok. The project continues to plant…into the sludge that is north Jakarta. Only one of my colleagues (guess who?) was brave/stupid enough to get into the water. My health insurance doesn’t cover immersing myself in raw sewage from an urban area of well over 20 million people! I did get a lovely green mangrove conservation t-shirt though.

  5. narhvalur says:

    Wonderful to see these exotic pictures!

  6. Angela says:

    Hi Pak Liam,

    These photos are wonderful. Would you allow us to publish one or two to accompany an article about nature’s wrath and the need to preserve and develop more mangrove forest to help protect Jakarta from further flooding?

  7. Pak Liam says:

    Hi Angela, sorry about the delay in replying, I’ve been out of town. Glad you like my pictures and yes, by all means, you may publish them.

  8. Pak Liam says:

    I noticed a couple of these pictures have been published in this month’s JakartaExpat Newspaper in an article about Mangroves and global warming. (and also here ) Properly attributed. 🙂

  9. Pingback: Countdown Calendar for GJIS 2013 | MYP @ Global Jaya International School

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