Aketajawe-Lolobata National Park – Indonesia

Java Deer (Rusa timorensis)

Aketajawe-Lolobata National Park – Indonesia

The Aketajawe-Lolobata National Park consists of over 400,000 acres on Halmahera Island, the biggest island in the North Maluku province of Indonesia. The Maluku Islands are a group of islands to the east of Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. Historically known as the “Spice Islands”, the Maluku Islands were once recognized as the only source of cloves and nutmeg.

The Aketajawe-Lolobata National Park was established in 2004 for the protection of endangered species and is part of the Wallacea biodiversity hotspot, which encompasses the central islands of Indonesia east of Java, Bali, and Borneo, and west of the province of New Guinea, and the whole of Timor Leste. The ecology of the Maluku Islands has fascinated naturalists for centuries. The vegetation of Aketajawe-Lolobata National Park consists mainly of lowland and montane rainforest.

The Aketajawe-Lolobata National Park contains kauri (Agathis spp.), bitangor tree (Calophyllum inophyllum), bintuang tree (Octomeles sumatrana), Amugis (Koordersiodendron pinnatum), taun tree (Pometia pinnata), merbau (Intsia bijuga), canarium nut tree (Canarium indicum), Bur flower tree (Anthocephalus chinensis) and nyatoh (Palaquium obtusifolium).

There are nearly 30 species of mammals found in Aketajawe-Lolobata National Park, including Javan deer(Rusa timorensis),ornate cuscus (Phalanger ornatus), the latter is endemic to Indonesia.

Over 200 bird species, including at least 23 endemic species, are found in Aketajawe-Lolobata National Park. The Wallace’s standarwing (Semioptera wallacii), is one of the national park’s biggest attractions. Like other birds-of-paradise, the male of this species gathers in the morning at a display area and performs for the attending females, trying to entice them to mate with him. This usually lasts for one to two hours and then the birds disperse into the forest to feed.

Another attraction for birdwatchers in the Aketajawe-Lolobata National Park is the endemic ivory-breasted pitta (Pitta maxima). This is a large pitta with white and red underparts, black head and upperparts, and light green wings. The ivory-breasted pitta is arguably one of the most handsome of all the pittas.

Another prize for birdwatchers that can be found in the Aketajawe-Lolobata National Park is the ultra elusive, invisible rail (Habroptila wallacii). Until several years ago, the invisible rail had been seen by only a handful of people, acquiring quasi mythical status. Then a local guide found a nest near his house and the first photographs of the bird in the wild were taken. Another name for this bird is the drumming rail, derived from the very singular bass sound it produces when calling, which is similar to the sound of a drum beat. Sometimes a park visitor may still hear the bird’s drumming from inside high grass or other foliage, although never seeing the actual bird.

Some of the other bird species found in the Aketajawe-Lolobata National Park are the Halmahera cuckoo-shrike (Coracina parvula), Sombre kingfisher (Todiramphus funebris), white cockatoo (Cacatua alba), blue and white kingfisher (Halcyon diops), dusky-brown oriole (Oriolus phaeochromus), Halmahera flowerpecker (Dicaeum schistaceiceps), Moluccan goshawk (Accipiter henicogrammus), Blyth’s hornbill (Rhyticeros plicatus), dusky scrubfowl (Megapodius freycinet), long-billed crow (Corvus validus), grey-headed fruit dove (Ptilinopus hyogastrus), and purple dollarbird (Eurystomus azureus).

Some of the reptiles and amphibians found in Aketajawe-Lolobata National Park include the Moluccan callulops Frog (Callulops Dubius), mountain rainforest frog (Cophixalus montanus), Weber’s sailfin lizard (Hydrosaurus weberi), and monitor lizard (Varanus spp.).

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