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.